Migratory Systems (2005)

for xylophone solo and percussion quntet


2005. Migratory Systems is dedicated to the great xylophone virtuoso Bob Becker. The idea for the composition came after completing Route 666 (2004) for marimba solo and percussion quartet. In the last ten years or so, there has been an explosion of new works in the genre of marimba with percussion, but almost none featuring the xylophone as a solo instrument. The success of the xylophone as a solo instrument is well established through the ragtime and novelty music of such great composers as George Hamilton Green and many others. It was curious to me that very few, if any, have thought to continue that tradition through the composition of new works that go beyond that style from years ago. That was the impetus to write Migratory Systems. It is a multi movement composition, that seeks to explore the possibilities of the xylophone in new settings, while at the same time paying homage to great composers of xylophone music of the past. The Introduction, Dance 1 and Interlude 1 present and develop the basic material of the composition. In Dance 2, I was thinking of the wonderful and challenging xylophone part in Cowell’s work for percussion ensemble, Ostinato Pianissimo. In Interlude 2, I use the xylophone to orchestrate the harmonics of the marimba. And in Dance 3 I have tried to tie together the basic material of the composition while transforming the “ragtime xylophone” style of the past in to a new kind of setting.  Unpublished and unperformed as of April, 2015.  To be published in the future by Keyboard Percussion Publications (www.mostlymarimba.com).

The recording contained herein is an mp3 of the newly edited version of this piece.  It was premiered at Ithaca College in April of 2017, and subsequently edited with many changes and improvements.  I believe this piece is now ready for performance by any good college percussion ensemble with a great xylophonist.  It is not yet scheduled for publication by KPP, so write to me if you are interested in a possible performance.