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Centrifuge

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Todd Malicoate

Todd Malicoate


General Info

Year: 2010
Duration: c. 5:30
Difficulty: VII (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Self-published (contact at todd.malicoate at okstate.edu)
Cost: $200 for score, set of parts


Instrumentation

Flutes I-II
Oboes I-II
English Horn (optional)
Bassoons I-II
Contrabassoon (optional)
Bb Soprano Clarinets I-II-III
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Contral-Alto Clarinet (optional)
Bb Soprano Saxophone
Eb Alto Saxophone
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Bb Trumpets I-II-III-IV
Horns 1I-II-III-IV
Trombones I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Euphonium
Tuba
Piano
String Bass
Timpani
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Anvil
  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Bongos
  • Claves
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Marimba
  • Slap stick
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tom-Tom (large and small)
  • Triangle
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

In the spring of 2010 I was approached by the Oklahoma State University chapters of Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma, Phi Mu Alpha, and Sigma Alpha Iota with an idea for an interesting project. Dr. Joseph Missal would be celebrating his 25th anniversary as Director of Bands at OSU, and a piece commemorating that event seemed appropriate. Happy to accept the challenge, I started the long process of creating a new work for wind ensemble.

But how best to represent the career of Dr. Missal in a composition? Looking back on my time in the OSU Wind Ensemble under his direction, I realized that one of the things that makes Dr. Missal's ensembles so good is his ability to draw the seemingly impossible out of mere mortal musicians. Over the years, his ensembles have played the most technically challenging pieces in the wind ensemble repertoire with great success. It seemed clear that a piece celebrating those successes needed to be a fiery one with flourishes of fingers and technical challenges all around.

I had the idea to create a sort of "spinning song", that is, a piece that has a constantly running 16-note line going. The concept is, of course, a challenge to orchestrate with a wind group where the breath is so important, but I was able to find a variety of ways to keep the line going by using the woodwinds, mallet percussion, and piano to weave the moving line all around the ensemble. Centrifuge takes the concept of the spinning song to a new technical level, as the ability to keep these moving lines going at the speed requested is an incredible challenge to the musicians and well suited to the abilities of the outstanding musicians of the OSU Wind Ensemble. The use of constantly changing and unusual time signatures provides another challenge for the ensemble, and many instruments are pushed to the extremes of their technical and range limits.

Centrifuge is based on a fairly atonal set of (0, 1, 6, 7) but (surprisingly) sounds quite tonal in most places settling around the key of c minor for the main theme. It imitates the typical sonata form of the great Romantic-era orchestral symphonies in its exposition-development-recapitulation form and also in its contrapuntal techniques in the development section. Often the imitative counterpoint is at an extremely close time interval, even as close as only one eighth-note apart in a very fast tempo. The development culminates with a short fugue for the woodwind soloists and a loud unison-rhythm section before the main theme returns with a running bass line in the low instruments and random interruptions by the battery percussionists. The piece then concludes with a vicious flurry of woodwind scales and angular lines before a final chord which resolves the atonal (0, 1, 6, 7) set into its more consonant neighbor of (0, 2, 5, 7).

It is my hope that this piece honors the hard work and dedication of Dr. Missal to the Oklahoma State University band program and provides yet another challenge to the outstanding musicians of the OSU Wind Ensemble. I know I join with Dr. Missal and all of the OSU Music Department faculty and staff in thanking the brothers and sisters of Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma, Phi Mu Alpha, and Sigma Alpha Iota for their untiring efforts to support the mission and goals of the department.

- Program Note by composer


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

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Works for Winds by this Composer


References