Arcadia II: Concerto for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble

Arcadia II: Concerto for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble2017-03-06T23:59:33+00:00

Project Description

Solo Marimba and Percussion Ensemble
1982, rev. 1985
30 min.

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Listen Now

Alma College Percussion Ensemble
On the album, Both Sides Now

Central Michigan University Percussion Ensemble, Robert Hohner, cond.
On the album, The Percussion Music of David Maslanka

See Available Commercial Recordings

Preview Score


Solo Marimba, Percussion Ensemble

Required Percussion (6 players)

    • Solo Marimba
    • 10+ small Indian bells of a variety of pitches
    • Snare Drum (sm and med)
    • Vibraphone
    • Marimba
    • Tenor Drum
    • Bull Roarer
    • Gong (2)
    • Bass Drum
    • Cymbal (med and lg)
    • Temple Blocks
    • Tom-tom (med and lg)
    • Suspended Cymbal (6) (3 sm and 3 med)
    • Wood Block (med and lg)
    • Crash Cymbal
    • Anvil (metal hammer)
    • Rachet
    • Triangle (med and lg)
    • High Hat Cymbal
    • Bongo
    • Antique Cymbal
    • Orchestra Bells
    • Slide Whistle (2)
    • Claves
    • Xylaphone
    • Crotales
    • Bamboo Sticks (4) (ca 2 ft long 1 in diameter)
    • Bell Plate
    • Slap Stick
    • Tambourine
For wind ensembles and concertos, please use one player per part. For symphonies and concert pieces, more players may be used as desired. David’s full statement.

Program Note

From the dictionary, “Arcadia” means a pastoral district of ancient Greece, or any place of rural peace and simplicity. It refers as well the mythic land of human origin. The title Arcadia II has a double intent: it is the second piece of mine with the title Arcadia, and it is a musical prayer for the well being of Earth and a return to an attitude of reverence for the Earth.

The Concerto uses a traditional concerto form: faster outer movements surrounding a slow middle movement. The outer movements are both in sonata form (exposition of themes, development, recapitulation), and the middle movement has the feel of an extended song.

The first movement arises from darkness. I remember standing in a New Hampshire meadow on a summer evening. One by one the fireflies lit up until the darkening field was alive with their activity. The tiny opening bell sounds of this movement are the fireflies. Out of this grows a mournful bittersweet music which rises to a high intensity and then fades.

The second movement is a nature meditation. It comes directly from my walks in Inwood Hill Park in upper Manhattan. This hundred-acre wood is the last “wild” parkland in New York City. Though faint and crowded on all sides by urban noise, the voices of nature can still be heard in these woods. They suggested a music in which the human presence (the solo marimba) communes with the sounds of wind, birds, the rustling of small things, the flow of water -all represented in the ensemble.

The last movement is infused with a spirit of playfulness, light, and simple joy in the glories of nature. There is an assertive opening theme, a serene and pastoral second theme, an extended development which rises to moments of epiphany (wind and glittering sunlight in the rustling leaves), a cadenza, and a recapitulation with the second theme coming first.

Program note by David Maslanka

Further Reading

Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 7, Tribute

6 August 2018|0 Comments

Maslanka Weekly highlights excellent performances of David Maslanka’s music from around the web. This week, we remember the life of David Maslanka and Alison Matthews with unforgettable performances of Symphony No. 4, "Song for Alison" from Song Book for Alto Saxophone and Marimba, and Symphony No. 10: The River of Time.

Music in Life

18 April 2002|0 Comments

Remarks given on 18 April 2002 at Indiana University School of Music before a performance of the Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble. Other works on the concert included Montana Music: Chorale Variations and [...]

Music and Healing

7 April 1999|0 Comments

Remarks given before a performance of Montana Music: Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano. Music is specifically healing. I know that I am alive today, and essentially well, because of it. Healing through music is [...]

The roots and purpose of music

15 November 1992|0 Comments

Remarks given at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Nov.15.1992, before a performance of Symphony No.3. I want to give a few thoughts on the roots of music and its purpose in human life. Music comes supposedly [...]