An interesting work filled with rhythmic activity and slow, sad moments of reflection. Each percussionist of this sextet helps to represent the hummingbird, capable of stasis by extremely rapid movement.
Genre: Percussion Ensemble | # of Players: 6
Level: Medium Difficult | Duration: 13:10
Percussion 1 (bass drum, medium gong, wind chimes, 2 brake drums)
Percussion 2 (2 brake drums, marimba, temple blocks, snare drum)
Percussion 3 (snare drum, marimba)
Percussion 4 (snare drum, vibraphone)
Percussion 5 (4 tom-toms, snare drum, bongos)
Percussion 6 (snare, sizzle cymbal, 2 brake drums, crotales, suspended cymbal)
Hummingbird was written between Fall 2003 and Winter 2004, for choreographer Sandra Torijano-DeYoung and conductor-percussionist Michael Gould. The work explored the resolve of Latin Americans to maintain their stamina against all odds, and having an incredible inner and outer strength, regardless of North American economic policies. Hummingbirds are extremely colorful, and yet are extremely tiny, reminding us of Pablo Neruda's comment about the Guatemalans, "They wear color on the outside to cover their sad bleakness within." The hummingbird is also the animal with the highest metabolism, and thus is capable of stasis by extremely rapid movement.
Actually, the decision to make the work about hummingbirds came first, followed by the decision to make a work for percussion sextet. Once the topic was decided, however, the orchestration seemed obvious. In order to create sustained tones the percussionist must play many notes (a roll), not at all unlike the hummingbird staying stationary. In addition, I was interested in working with momentum/non-momentum in a piece for dance, which, in aturn, created an interesting musical structure not unlike the Baroque Sonata da Chiesa (Slow-Fast-Slow-Fast). This structural approach resulted in Hummingbird, a difficult work filled with rhythmic activity and slow, sad moments of reflection.