Newell, Robert- Spirals, for soprano, tenor, and percussionist (Digital Download)

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For soprano, tenor and percussionist, includes three scores. While saying the text to him or herself, the percussionist circles clockwise, performing at eleven stations of instruments, such as, bass drum, slit drums and button gong. The rhythms and accents are suggested by the text, creating a lyrical flow in imitation of the voices. Duration: ca. 9' 30"

Print size: Legal (8.5 x 14")

Review from Percussive Notes:

Robert Newell – Spirals

Written in a style reminiscent of the music of George Crumb, this nine-minute chamber work for two vocalists and percussionist combines spoken word, sung text, and instrument improvisation in a unique fashion. The primary performance impact of the work combines the stage setup of the percussion instruments and the manner of interaction the performer has with those instruments. All 11 instruments are to be set up in a circle with the percussionist in the center, playing each instrument for each syllable of spoken (whispered) text as they pace around the interior of the circle, which is the inspiration for the title. The poetic nature of the text also aligns with this theme, which incorporates such phrases as, “Thus we will walk on the ruins of suffering…” and “Glowing in our gestures. Thus we walk lighted.” This text is overlapped upon itself, as it is not only whispered by the percussionist but also sung by the tenor and soprano on stage. As this work was written in 1976 (but recently published), the mood and character aligns with most “art pieces” of that time. Open-minded audiences will appreciate the unfolding of the contemporary narrative that requires restraint and a certain emotional dedication from the performers, as well as patience from the listener.

—Joshua D. Smith