by Brian Slawson
Instrumentation: Crotales (A & E)*, Glockenspiels, Xylophone, Chimes, Vibraphone, Marimba—low A (shared), 4 timpani, Drums (concert toms (2), congas (2), bass drum), Cymbals & gongs (suspended cymbal (2), crash cymbals, gong, finger cymbals, tam-tam), Accessories (ukulele†, thunder sheet (optional), vibraslap, tambourine, triangle, sleigh bells)
*The ukulele parts consist of mostly open strings. An experienced player is not required.
†Possible substitutes for E and A crotales: a glockenspiel (played by striking them with finger cymbals), energy chimes (pitched E and A), or singing bowls (pitched E and A) strick with a triangle beater.
ABOUT CLOUDBURST IMPROVISATION INSTRUMENTATION
Movement 3 is an improvised thunderstorm. All effects listed are merely suggestions. Instrument selection is left to the discretion of the conductor and performers, other than the concert bass drum and congas. Check out the instrumentation notes in the into of the score for more suggestions.
Dreams from the Dark Forest is a progressive four-movement work composed by Brian Slawson, designed to challenge young percussionists to formulate a narrative through instrumental music. Slawson titled each movement to provide just enough information to stimulate the imagination and allow the performers to create a unique and singular interpretation of the composition.
The piece may be performed in its entirety as a multi-movement work, or alternately, each of the movements below can stand on their own, making this a versatile piece for middle school and high school ensembles.
I. Myths & Legends resembles an introduction to a collection of fairy tales. The music should remain subtle and serve as a setup for what is to follow.
II. The Great Beyond has a distant, tribal character. As in the first movement, the ensemble should maintain a subtle approach to the dynamics in order to best serve the narrative.
III. Cloudburst is a fully improvised musical depiction of a thunderstorm. Started by the concert bass drum, all effects to follow are left to the discretion of the performers. Rolling while pedaling on an upside-down cymbal placed on a timpano can create atmospheric sounds. Bowed gongs and cymbals, thunder sheets, wooden toys, and bird whistles can also be used to great effect. Even in free improvisation, the greatest results occur by listening to each other and focusing on the sum of the parts.
IV. Whispers of Warriors Past, like the second movement, begins with a distant timpani call. Be patient with the dynamic build and end the story with a powerful climax.
Dreams from the Dark Forest comes as a full, bound score with a color cover and includes an online download code to access individual parts for printing.