Timber for six percussionists premieres

December 15, 2011

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On June 16 at Korzo Theatre in Den Haag, The Netherlands, the Dutch percussion group Slagwerk Den Haag gives the world premiere of Michael Gordon’s percussion sextet, Timber, an evening-length tour de force.

Scored for six graduated wooden 2x4s, or Simantras (Greek liturgical percussion instruments used by French composer Iannis Xenakis), the work brings the physicality, endurance and technique of percussion performance to a new level.

In this new work, Gordon shapes the music in both polyrhythmic and dynamic waves of textures — often each players’ hands are in separate rhythmic ‘worlds’, each traversing a different dynamic contour from loud to soft to loud, similar in some respects to his solo for percussion, XY.

Much of Gordon’s music demonstrates a deep exploration into the extreme possibilities and stunning nature of rhythm, as well as the enriching, yet disturbing, multidimensionality of polyrhythmic layers.

Many of his works, including Trance, Gotham, and Decasia, point to this interest in complex rhythmic and textural territory. Gordon’s percussion sextet takes these elements and explores the extreme possibilities of rhythm and texture to a beautifully intense degree. The new evening-length work is indeed a unique and exciting addition to the world of percussion.

Timber was co-commissioned by the dance company, Club Guy and Roni, the percussion ensembles Slagwerk den Haag and Mantra Percussion, with support from the Nief-Norf project.