by Jim Casella
Instrumentation: Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Chimes, 2 vibraphones (with bows & mallets), 2 marimbas—low A, 4 timpani, Drums (military drum, snare drum, 4 toms, bass drum), Cymbals (2 suspended cymbals, sizzle cymbal, crash cymbals), Accessories (waterphone or bowed music stand, triangle, 2 cowbells, finger cymbals, temple blocks), Tam tam (with stick, bow, and triangle beater), Piano
Dystopia was written to imitate a tense, action-packed, horror movie soundtrack within the percussion ensemble setting. Using a fairly large instrumentation (including piano), some interesting textures are achieved by way of bowed instruments (waterphone, tam tam, vibraphone) and gutteral, groaning bass drum effects. Frequent use of tight intervals and dissonant melodies add to the tension driven by a syncopated ostinato in 5/4.
Essentially, this is program music designed to take listeners on a journey of their own images. There isn’t a literal story being told here, but its structure takes us from quiet mystery to suspenseful pursuit, then action-based escape. These dramatic elements will allow each performer and listener to choose his or her own adventure by letting the music create a scary story line of its own.
Dystopia was premiered before an enthusiastic audience at the 2008 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.
This piece comes with a full, bound score and includes a CD-Rom containing an audio recording and all individual parts available for printing.