Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 67, New Performances of Marimba Music

Maslanka Weekly highlights excellent performances of David Maslanka’s music from around the web.

Throughout his career as a composer, David had an affinity for the marimba and appreciated the instrument’s ability to “produce small and beautifully sustained sounds.” This week, we feature three new performances of some of David’s most familiar marimba music: Variations on Lost Love, Concerto for Marimba and Band, and My Lady White.

Variations on Lost Love

Commissioned by the New York State Music Teachers Association for Leigh Howard Stevens, Variations on Lost Love “pushed the boundaries of four-mallet marimba technique inspired by Stevens’ original approach to the instrument.” This music is constructed as a theme followed by three variations. According to David however, “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.”

Watch below as Mason McDonald gives a moving performance of Variations on Lost Love.

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Concerto for Marimba and Band

From David’s Program Note:

This piece has more the nature of a fantasia than a classical concerto. It is in two large halves, the first very quiet and serene, devoted to rhapsodic melody and transparent textures, and the second starting with a huge dynamic build up and then moving through a relatively brief spurt of fast and fierce music before settling to a quiet and transcendent close.

Watch below as Ray C. Lichtenwalter leads Michael Varner and the University of Texas at Arlington Wind Ensemble in a superb performance of this work.

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My Lady White

From David’s Program Note:

The title, My Lady White, is a reference to a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer; an elegy for a woman named Blanche who was his devoted courtly love who he described as “supremely modest, yet easily approachable, refined, temperate, lighthearted and pious without sternness or coldness.” I call the three movements of My Lady White madrigals because they remind me of those brief, intimate, emotional song forms. The words, “A Gift of Rings,” from the title of the second piece are the title of a poem by the modern English poet Robert Graves. Graves also spent his life searching for the “White Goddess,” which is the name of a book that he wrote. “For Pretty Alison” – Alison is my wife, my best friend, and in many ways my own “Lady White.”

Watch below as Craig Hatter gives a beautiful rendition of this music.

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We would love to hear from you! If you know of any outstanding performances of David Maslanka’s music on the web, please email us at