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Review from Percussive Notes (2021):
“Transits II” uses a handwritten graphic score consisting of 52 pages that can be played in any order by a varying number of percussionists. The pages can be played one at a time, simultaneously, or a single page split between players. If performed as a solo, the player can prerecord pages on tape.
The score is alternately very specific (a specifically pitched instrument playing a specific rhythm at a set tempo) and very open (any instrument played for a determined amount of time). Some pages are sparse, others dense. Some use a staff and others a picture of the instrument. Michael Ranta includes instructions and a notation key at the beginning to guide the performer in interpreting the piece.
If played with care and attention to detail, “Transits II” is challenging. It requires a great deal of forethought, planning, interpretation, finesse, and technique. It is a piece with endless possibilities. Every performance can be unique and personalized. One page simply has the instruction “Improvise to whatever sounds you hear,” which has the potential to really captivate an audience, especially if performed in a setting with a lot of ambient noise.
“Transits II” is highly esoteric and not accessible to every audience; however, with the right preparation, the performer(s) can make something truly special. This would be a wonderful project for someone looking for something unusual, and an opportunity to use unconventional instruments.
—Marilyn K. Clark Silva