Drips

Drips for wind ensemble
Publisher: Gottry Publications (2016)
Composed: 2012
Duration: 5’15”
Difficulty: Medium
Instrumentation: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 3 B-flat clarinets, B-flat bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 2 E-flat alto saxophones, B-flat tenor saxophone, E-flat baritone saxophone, 4 French horns, 3 B-flat trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, euphonium, tuba, 7 percussionists (4 timpani: 32”, 29”, 26”, 23”, bells, chimes, xylophone, vibraphone, marimba, snare drum, bass drum, bongos, wood block, cabasa, shekere, triangle, ride cymbal, suspended cymbal, hi-hat)
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Drips was originally composed as a commissioned work for wind ensemble with a ten-person percussion ensemble, featuring both sections in equally important and balanced roles. Later, with as few changes as possible, the percussion section was reduced to seven players to facilitate programming the work within the typical wind ensemble instrumentation context. This five minute, one-movement work features a gradual building dance of rhythmic and melodic structures alternating between sections of drips (set in 5/4) and flowing water (set in 9/8). The composition begins with sparse non-pitched percussion sounds that become the underlying ostinato for the opening section. Keyboard percussion instruments and woodwinds enter with increasingly frequent “drips” as the piece begins to come to life. The entrance of the tuba completes the opening section after which the dance of the rainfall commences with a statement in the marimba and vibraphone, joined shortly after by the baritone saxophone. Various melodic fragments in the woodwinds and percussion are set over this dance as the brass infuses relatively soft and sustained chords that gradually shift in coloring as the instrumentation changes. The piece builds to an initial full ensemble climax before relaxing back into a slightly thinner texture over which a simple melody is stated in the piccolo. Soon, many of the voices fade away and the piece transitions into a flowing ostinato set in 9/8 time, the contrasting section of the piece. The tuba and bassoon soon introduce the bass line for this new dance over which are layered falling lines in the woodwinds and a lyrical melody in the upper brass instruments. A second statement of both sections of the work with increasing complexity and slight variations is followed by the reprise of this 9/8 bass line, now in the piccolo and clarinet. Each of the voices in the ensemble joins in as the piece reaches a final climax set in a final 5/4 measure.

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