Performed by the University of Oklahoma Percussion Ensemble
Under the direction of Dr. Lance Drege
ABOUT THE PIECE:
Crown of Thorns (1991)
for Keyboard Percussion Ensemble
Premiered 11/91 by the University of Oklahoma (Norman) Percussion ensemble, Richard Gipson, conductor. Commissioned by the University of Oklahoma Percussion Ensemble/Richard Gipson
The title "Crown of Thorns" is an obvious reference to Christ's Crown of Thorns, but the name first came to me as a possible title for a piece from seeing a plant called "Crown of Thorns" at the New York Botanical Gardens. Crown of Thorns is a rambling, thorny desert plant from the Middle East, with small green leaves, and small, pretty red flowers. The rambling, interweaving, vine-like stems suggested music to me.
As I meditated on the words "Crown of Thorns", and on the plant, and on the idea of a work for keyboard percussion ensemble, the following image arose:
a darkening sky
seven stars are visible:
the seven-starred halo
the golden light
the hands of blessing
The seven-starred halo is a transcended image of the crown of thorns. It is the crown of highest spiritual power arrived at through the greatest depth of suffering. The imagery is Christian, but the experience transcends religion, and is universal. The music is at times sober and reflective, but more often filled with a liberated energy and joy.
ABOUT THE OU PERCUSSION DEPARTMENT:
One of the most highly acclaimed percussion programs in the United States, the Percussion Area at the OU School of Music is recognized for excellence in the areas of pedagogy, performance, recording, commissioning, and publishing. OU percussion graduates hold positions as performers and academicians throughout the country.
OU's percussion program allows students to study with distinguished faculty in the field and provides students with access to a dedicated state-of-the-art facility including two large rehearsal studios, MIDI and recording facilities, and six practice rooms, and access to a comprehensive inventory of percussion instruments.
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