Creatively used found objects, exotic artifacts, and traditional instruments expand the sound palette in pieces by three ingenious composers.
The earliest piece planned for Sō Percussion’s trilogy of concerts, John Cage’s Third Construction from 1942, represents a landmark in composing for percussion. Here, instruments from around the world—including rattles, drums, tin cans, claves, cowbells, lion’s roar, cymbal, ratchet, teponaxtle, quijades, cricket caller, and conch shell—are arranged and re-arranged into various combinations to create an astonishing array of colors and rhythms. The second piece, Paul Lansky’s Threads, is one of the most popular works ever written for percussion ensemble. Structured like a Baroque cantata, it swings between moments of intense delicacy and ecstatic drumming. Finally, the four mini-concertos of Steve Mackey’s It Is Time marshal the virtuosity of the individual members of Sō Percussion to speed up, slow down, warp, celebrate, and mourn our perceptions of time.