“21” was written for Mariel Roberts in October 2008 and premiered in Rochester, NY on December 14, 2008. After meeting Mariel at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival, I became extremely impressed with her sense of rhythm and effortless mastery of the cello. I first realized her talent when we performed “I falleN TwO” for string quartet and steel pans.
Soon after the premiere of the original instrumentation, “21” was adapted to work for marimba and cello. This version was premiered by New Morse Code (Michael Compitello & Hannah Collins) in New Haven, CT on October 22, 2011.
My goal with this piece was to incorporate techniques and phrases that would offer a unique contemporary sound world rooted in traditional Trinidadian Soca rhythms. The cello part requires the performer to play a kick drum and operate a loop pedal while simultaneously playing the cello. The percussion part requires the performer to play a tambourine with the foot pedal in addition to marimba. The title “21” refers to the twenty-first measure of the Fugue movement in J.S. Bach’s Violin Sonata #1 in G minor. The harmonic chords in this bar are the inspiration of the sequence of notes for “21.” Coincidentally, Mariel Roberts was 21 years old when the piece was written and premiered.
- Andy Akiho
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