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Christiaan Richter - Droplets

Christiaan Richter | Droplets | 2014-2015/2017 | 32'

Solo percussion set-up

Link for the score | Composer's website

Link for the Audio

Natural processes were an important source of inspiration for the percussion cycle Droplets. In this four-part cycle, one solo percussionist produces a very dynamic polyphony using merely a modest collection of wooden and metal objects as instruments.

A large part of the material in the pieces from the cycle is based on the phenomenon of multiple cycles of periodic rhythms occurring at the same time - a phenomenon that can be observed both in nature and in music. For example, think of raindrops that alternately fall from two branches of a tree. Using this principle, many complex tempo relationships and ambiguities are created, often resulting in a very dense but at the same time transparent web of counterpoint for the solo performer. Up to 12 different cycles or tempi sound simultaneously, with some of these tempi slowing down or accelerating independently from each other.

For a long time already, I have been interested in creating some kind of balance between ideas or concepts that are complex by their nature and realizations that reduce them, as far as possible, to their bare essentials, removing any clutter. The purpose of this is to present something as clear as possible in order to make sure all subtleties will be exposed and can be observed audibly.

In this case, this approach or aesthetic has also been extended to the choice of instrumentation, just using the minimum of what is needed, with the second piece from the cycle in this sense being the most reduced, or restricted.

It has been an intriguing challenge to develop an idiomatic way of writing for percussion that makes possible a practical realization that renders the processes clearly audible as well as gives the basis for results that are practically performable, physically virtuosic, and exciting.

The cycle was written for percussionist Konstantyn Napolov, with whom I have worked frequently since our first collaboration in 2012. All four pieces from the cycle can also be performed as separate pieces.


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