by Brian Slawson
Instrumentation: Xylophone, 3 timpani, Drums (snare drum, bongos, congas, concert bass drum, 2 toms), Accessories (triangle, guiro, claves, 2 woodblocks, vibraslap)
Animals is a loosely programmatic suite for percussion quartet in three movements by Brian Slawson. In Small, Medium, and Large, each player is assigned a specific animal name to help define their part’s character.
The Small animals for the first movement are frog, mouse, finch, and squirrel. These are characterized on smaller instruments such as claves, triangle, xylophone, and woodblocks. The content here is more abstract and intended to be performed in a sporadic, spontaneous fashion.
By contrast, Medium (Mvt. 2) maintains a brisk forward-moving attitude with its accompanying characters of hyena, cheetah, monkey, and kangaroo. These animals are represented by the snare drum, bongos, congas, and tom-toms.
Finally, the animals of the final movement, Large, are lion, tiger, hippo, and elephant. The addition of bass drum and timpani make this movement more heavy and cumbersome in nature.
Aside from the educational elements of characterizations, the musical ideas are just plain fun. Whether performed as a full suite or just selecting individual movements, this will bring out the animals in students–in the best way possible!
Animals ships in a professionally printed folio which includes all individual parts on CD-ROM.