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“Variations on Lost Love” by David Maslanka


“Variations on Lost Love” by David Maslanka

Performed by Michael Coleman

Mallet Selection for this Piece:


Virtuoso Series M212

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Medium. The most versatile mallet of the series. An all-purpose marimba mallet.


Virtuoso Series M213

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Medium hard. Provides excellent clarity throughout the full range of the marimba.


“Lost Love” refers to the poem of the same name by the English poet Robert Graves. The poem describes a person so distraught by lost love that he enters a state of hyperawareness…”His eyes are quickened so by grief, he can watch a grass or leaf every instant grow.” He can hear “A noise so slight it would surpass credence — drinking sound of grass…the whir of spiders when they spin.” And finally “This man is quickened so with grief, he wanders god-like or like thief, inside and out, below, above, without relief seeking lost love.”

My variations are not formal variations on a theme. They are, rather, emotional pictures — a variety of moods, attitudes and feelings that arose from contemplating the poem. They range from mournful and tragic to light-hearted and whimsical. The marimba is a wonderful instrument for capturing these qualities of feeling, particularly in its ability to produce small and beautifully sustained sounds.

“Variations on Lost Love” was composed in 1977 for marimbist Leigh Howard Stevens. It has been my pleasure over the years to see this music taken up by fine marimbists around the world.

 – David Maslanka


David Maslanka was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1943. He attended the Oberlin College Conservatory where he studied composition with Joseph Wood. He spent a year at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and did masters and doctoral study in composition at Michigan State University where his principal teacher was H. Owen Reed.

Maslanka’s music for winds has become especially well known. Among his 40-plus works for wind ensemble and band are Symphonies 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9, 12 concertos, a Mass, and many concert pieces. His wind chamber music includes four wind quintets, two saxophone quartets, and many works for solo instrument and piano. In addition, he has written a variety of orchestral and choral pieces.

David Maslanka’s compositions are published by Carl Fischer, Inc., David Maslanka Publications, Kjos Music Company, Marimba Productions, Inc., the North American Saxophone Alliance, OU Percussion Press, and TrevCo Music, and have been recorded on Albany, Reference Recordings, BIS (Sweden), Naxos, Cambria, CRI, Mark, Novisse, AUR, Cafua (Japan), Brain Music (Japan), Barking Dog, and Klavier labels. He has served on the faculties of the State University of New York at Geneseo, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, and Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York, and since 1990 has been a freelance composer. He now lives in Missoula, Montana. David Maslanka is a member of ASCAP.


Michael Coleman is a percussionist and educator specializing in advanced keyboard playing and contemporary multiple-percussion. He has had the pleasure of working closely with a number of notable composers for percussion, including David Maslanka, George Crumb, David Gillingham, and Nathan Daughtrey. He holds a Master’s degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Oklahoma, where he was awarded the Ronald J. Dyer award for outstanding contributions to the OU percussion studio.

Michael has enjoyed successfully teaching private lessons at every skill level and age group. He is a perennial performer in Oklahoma as well as at numerous conventions, including the National Convention on Percussion Pedagogy, the Oklahoma Percussive Arts Society’s Day of Percussion, and the Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s Summer Marimba Camp. He also professes a love for the Drum Corps and indoor percussion activity, having been a member of the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps for the years 2000, 2001, and 2002. He has also been an avid educator in the Oklahoma marching band activity, teaching at numerous area schools since 2003.

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