Performed by the Texas A&M University-Commerce Percussion Ensemble, directed by Dr. Brian Zator
Published by C. Alan Publications (http://c-alanpublications.com/rhythmic-ceremonial-ritual/)
Orchestral tambourine playing involves a wide array of unique playing techniques, from the knee-fist playing in the “Trepak” movement of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, to the thumb rolls of the “Gypsy Dance” of Bizet’s Carmen, and everything in between. The concept behind Rhythmic Ceremonial Ritual (2017) was to compose a piece for a tambourine ensemble in which each player could work on these different techniques in a fun, entertaining setting.
The ensemble is instructed to begin the piece “in the round,” surrounding the audience, with one player positioned in the center of the performance space. The center player acts both as a leader for some of the call-and-response playing found throughout the piece and also as a focal point for the ensemble’s listening. As the piece progresses, the audience will hear a variety of unison figures surrounding them, as well as rhythmic patterns being passed around and across the performance space.
The piece was premiered by the University of Missouri – St. Louis Percussion Ensemble (Matthew Henry, Director) at the Missouri Music Educators Association conference in January 2016.