solo percussion version, for William Winant



Drums need no explanation. They go without saying. They roll, they flam, they paradiddle, thump, brush, boom, sizzle, whack, boing, wham, ping. Next to food they provide the fuel which gets us from one birth to the next burial, from one dance hall to the next solstice, from one work-out to the next pow-wow. Without them, there'd be no where to go and nothing to do; no distant sounds to run toward, no messages. Some say the drum was God, others believed it was only God's voice. Drums incite people to war and peace, to chase after their animal food and one another. They sound to consumate all human passions. From the eerie asymetries of Gagaku to the lobotomized thrashing of PostTechno implants. Drums is cool, they down, they rule, they us.

For every drum there's a drummer; in this case William Winant, born at the foot of Mount Olympus, inside a pearl kick-drum, by the age of two he was speaking fluent armenian on his Zyldian cymbals. The piece THEME PARK I is for him, he asked for it and he will play it as if he had written it. The five distinct sections each feature a small group of instruments and music which is congenial to them. They express all my current musical concerns: octaves, noise, speed, exile, and melody. In THEME PARK II there is a percussion quartet to which Mr. Winant creates his own web-site. This is an indoor version of a 1991 work commissioned by the Audio Box series of the RAI (Italian Radio) and created for a stone-quarry in Matera, Italy. In a spectacular quadralateral hole in the ground some 150 yard long, 100 wide and 50 deep I made ample use of the natural echoes with the percussion stations placed in all four corners. The music did not require many notes nor much coordination to create layers of shifting polyphony. To this were added natural sounds, mostly voices of local elders telling their stories and calling their calls, as if these ancient stone walls of their labor were themselves calling out. The Mills concert hall has for some time been witness to all the sounds of the world, so for me it was appropriate to imagine it as a italian tufo-stone quarry tonight. This music is in 6 contiguous parts which overlap in time like a childrens round, in a melody of rarified noise.

Alvin Curran, April 1996

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