Concerto for Percussion (Ogino)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
- Bass Drum
Solo Percussion (except for siren whistle, all instruments and pitches are up to the soloist to choose for each performance):
- Floor Drum, deep (or small Bass Drum)
- Iron instrument (any loud iron such as cowbell)
- large China Cymbal (or small gong)
- Siren Whistle
- Skinned drums (choice is up to the situation)
- Spring Coil (any delicate metal such as large triangle)
- Trashy Splash Cymbal
- Wood Block, low
None discovered thus far.
A couple years ago, my friend Mutsuhito Ogino mentioned casually that he felt like writing me a percussion concerto. "That would be great," I responded, "but I cannot guarantee a performance." "Well, don't worry," he told me over Skype from Osaka, Japan. "If you don't like it, I have not done my job and you don't have to play it." About six months later I received a piece with which I immediately fell in love.
The use of percussion as a solo instrument is still rather young in the concerto tradition. Though the first percussion concerto was composed by the French composer Darius Milhaud in 1930, subsequent percussion concerti didn't arrive until much later in the 20th century. Since then, the tendency (when any are written at all) is to expand the arsenal of percussion instruments to such puzzling extremes that everything but the proverbial kitchen sink may be thrown in, making for very long and often very overwrought pieces of music.
Mutsuhito approached the task differently. Like Milhaud, he economized on the use of percussion instruments, and kept the duration of the concerto to around ten minutes. The instrumentation for the soloist is designated as only "skins", "metals", or "wood", and it is up to the performer to choose the sounds he or she desires. The driving force of the music is, appropriately, rhythmic, not melodic (although the soloist does share a dialogue with a solo bassoon at one point). And while there is a written cadenza, the soloist is encouraged to use it only as a guide from which to improvise. This, of course, I take full advantage of.
The Ogino concerto has more in common spiritually and artistically with Milhaud's 1930 concerto than with any modern concerto. The energy and drive of the piece is undeniable, and the musicality is felt in every stage as the piece evolves. I think it is a modern masterpiece and am very proud that it is dedicated to me.
- Program Note by John Astaire
- Audio: Reference recording. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Ensemble (Christopher Woodruff, conductor; John Astaire, percussion) - 2018
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo) Wind Ensemble (Christopher J. Woodruff, conductor;John Astaire, percussion) – 17 March 2022 (CBDNA 2022 Western/Northwestern Conference, Tacoma, Wash.)
- California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Ensemble (Christopher J. Woodruff, conductor; John Astaire, percussion) – 26 February 2022
- San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Wind Orchestra (Jennifer Martin, conductor; John Astaire, percussion) – 23 March 2019
- California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Ensemble (Christopher J. Woodruff, conductor; John Astaire, percussion) – 3 March 2018 *Premiere Performance*
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Concerto for Percussion (2018)
- California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Ensemble, concert program, 3 March 2018
- Mutsuhito Ogino, personal correspondence, March 2018