1. Prelude in Black & White
3. The Loud Alarum Bells
5. Interlude in Color
Solo percussion I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
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-III-IV
Percussion I-II-III, including:
- Bass Drum
- Crotales (1 octave)
- Cymbals (Orchestral Cymbals, Suspended Crash Cymbals, 2 Ride Cymbals, Splash Cymbal)
- Snare Drum
Percussion soloists instrumentation:
Solo 1: Castanets, 5 Wood Blocks, 5 Metals, Riq, Snare Drum with Hoop Crasher, Ride Cymbal, Suspended Cymbal (or multiple Cymbals), Tubular Bells, 5 High Drums + Crot-Hats, Glockenspiel.
Solo 2: Castanets, 5 Wood Blocks, 5 Metals, Performer’s Choice of Idiophone(s) or Membranophone(s), Glissando Instrument (ossia: Slit Drum), Vibraphone, 5 High Drums + Crot-Hats, Mark Tree, 5 Tom-toms.
None discovered thus far.
An early idea for this piece — abandoned but remembered fondly — was to call it Every Good Bird Does Fly in homage to an age-old mnemonic used by those who wish to remember the notes of the lines of the treble clef; I could compose non-pitched percussion parts with each note assigned its rhythm and contour on the five-line staff, but with the instrument choice left entirely up to the percussion soloists. In the end, this name was jettisoned and instruments selected, but the five-line patterns remained, now scored for sets of five wood blocks, five metals, five small drums, five “crot-hats” (hi-hats made from pairs of crotales and springs) and tom-toms. The new title The Rule of Five refers to these sets of non-pitched instruments; it’s a name that sprang to mind without me remembering from where it came from, and a quick search revealed all sorts of meanings; this piece relates to none of them.
The composition is in six movements; not all are of equal weight, with the music created to allow flexibility in the performance of excerpted versions. The colorful movement titles were inspired by my feelings, as I composed it, that percussive melody without “true” pitches can often seem like arbitrary clickety-clacks. In that spirit, the four main movements gained titles inspired by nonsense conversation (Claptrap, Flimflam, and Chatterbox), with the third movement taking the title The loud alarum bells from Edgar Allan Poe’s evocative 1849 poem The Bells: Hear the loud alarum bells / Brazen bells! ... In the startled ear of night / How they scream out their affright! ... They can only shriek, shriek / Out of tune /In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire. The remaining two movements, scored for the soloists alone, work as introductions to the movements that follow. The first is Prelude in Black & White (“black and white” because it has no gradation of pitches as it is scored solely for a pair of castanets), and the other is Interlude in Color (since it adds “color” to the prelude by scoring the existing music for pitched instruments: tubular bells and vibraphone).
The Rule of Five is dedicated to those who commissioned the music, especially Justin Alexander and Luis Rivera of the Novus Percutere Percussion Duo, who initiated the idea and assembled a wonderful group of collaborating commissioners. I am grateful to these fine percussionists and bands, and especially to Brian Nozny, who was a constant sounding-board and percussion consultant for me as I composed the music.
- Program Note by composer
(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Michael Butler, conductor; Brian Baldauff, and Justin Alexander, percussion) – 5 December 2018
- University of South Alabama (Mobile) Wind Ensemble (William Peterson, conductor; Luis Rivera and Justin Alexander, percussion) – 24 April 2018 *Premiere Performance*
- Radford University (Radford, Va.) Symphony Band (R. Wayne Gallops, conductor; Rob Sanderl and Tom Marceau, percussion) - 21 April 2018
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Alien Robots Unite! (2014)
- Alternating Current (2011)
- Carbon Paper and Nitrogen Ink (2013)
- Hard Knocks (2011)
- I echo you, we are repeated (2004)
- Raining Bricks (2018)
- The Rule of Five (2017)
- Speaking Truth to Power (2018)
- Wail (2010)
- Zipzap (2016)