Saya, Mark- Quiet Carrousel, for piano and two vibraphones

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Includes score and parts.

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Review from Percussive Notes:

Chopin’s piano works often find themselves transcribed as keyboard duets. Mark Saya takes this concept one step further by creating his own work relating to a Chopin etude using two vibraphones and a piano. The use of these three sustaining instruments creates a mellow yet bright soundscape within which the piece develops. “Quiet Carrousel” is a slow-moving, whispering trio that will challenge the mallet players to balance sustaining chordal structure with articulating rhythmic motives.


Dr. Saya serves as the Chair of the Department of Music at Loyola Marymount University and received multiple degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory, where he forged an ongoing relationship writing works for the Percussion Group Cincinnati. “Quiet Carrousel” was written for Allen Otte in 2011 with source material from Frederic Chopin’s second etude of the collection titled “Trois Nouvelles Etudes” published in the 1839 book Méthode des méthodes de piano by Ignaz Moscheles and Francois-Joseph Fetis. Although based loosely around Chopin’s piece, the composition is unique, and the use of two vibraphones opens up a timbral scope to wash away listeners in sweet, swaying gestures.


As the name suggests, “Quiet Carrousel” is a relatively soft and playful work. With the exception of a few climactic moments, Saya’s trio maintains a peaceful, constant motor of sixteenth notes underneath a three-over-two polyrhythm in the melody and bass. Both vibraphone parts require four mallets, although the entire piece is played using double stops and chords. The vibraphone parts are often stacked in octaves, so neither part is considerably more difficult than the other, and both require quick interval shifts to move from chord to chord. With an overall ternary form, the piece begins and ends in A-flat Major, but ventures far away during the B section, incorporating much of Chopin’s harmonic language. At just under four minutes, “Quiet Carrousel” is a potential short addition to any senior recital as a gentle palette cleanser between more aggressive works.

—Matthew Geiger