"Nalu" is a marimba quartet written for four players on two marimbas. In the Hawaiian language, the word “nalu” stands for wave, in reference to those in the waters surrounding the islands of Hawaii. Through the use of counterpoint, syncopation, hocket and hints of minimalist techniques, Nalu emulates the varying moods and textures of these ever-changing waves in the Pacific.
Though this work’s contrasting sections intend to portray the many states of the ocean’s waters, one notable memory from a trip in 2013 and my fascination for the beauty of nature shaped the beginning and ending of Nalu. Soon after arriving on the beach the first morning, a few grey clouds formed over the shore. With the sun shining brightly just above the horizon, the delicate trickles from the drizzle gently joined the faint wave breaks from the distance in a slow crescendo. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, an immense downpour and powerful gust overcame the coast, orchestrating a surge of sound from the ocean’s surface and the aggressive crashes on the shore. After a short while, the sun’s radiant rays seemed to dissolve the dark clouds within minutes and the glistening clear blue water of the Pacific returned to its calm state from beforehand. Just as the days cycle through light and dark, the waves and waters of the blue cycle though a multitude of characters, only to return to its original still, serene state.
performed by Dr. Brandon Arvay, Nick Bolchoz, Michael McSweeney, & Francisco Perez at the University of Kentucky
recording by Matthew Geiger
Available through C. Alan Publications.