Word of Mouth II
Instrumentation: Solo Percussion
Duration: 8 Minutes
Premiered by Colin Currie, Wigmore Hall on April 7, 2013
Commissioned by Colin Currie
Publisher: Bachovich Music Publications
“Word of Mouth II” (2014) was written for Colin Currie and his Wigmore Hall recital in April 2014. It is a condensed version of the original piece “Word of Mouth” with elements of my “Concerto for Percussion and Chamber Orchestra”, also written for Colin and premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2012. For me the challenge of writing a piece for solo drums, is that it must be based on material that is constantly being explored and developed. The challenge for the performer is that he/she must be able show their virtuosity and really make it a personal experience. This middle ground between the two was my starting point. The instruments specified are 4 dry drums, 4 resonant drums and I suggest 4 bongos with real skins and 4 toms with plastic heads. I wanted the actual sounds of the drums and the natural techniques that occur from the mallets used (stick-bounces, mallet sliding on head-bends pitch, hands dropped down-dead stroke, etc.) to really dictate the movement of the piece. Rather than the highly rhythmical“tour ‘de force”, often associated with drum solos, I wanted to explore the technical nuances of these specific instruments and all it’s various possibilities. This is ultimately dependent on the player’s unique hands and conformed to the limitations of each beater used. While every note is written out, there is a certain freedom allowed for each player, which makes this in some ways, an autonomous composition.
The title suggests the opening material of which the piece is based on. Starting with the simple rhythm, it goes through many variations similar to the act of speaking or story telling. As soon as words leave your mouth they are immediately separated from the past. And by the time your story gets around the room, it does not correspond to anything you might have originally said. This filtering or “forgetting” erases certain thoughts and the “memory” of what we can recall often transforms.