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Impromptu (by Rich O'Meara)

Price: $15.00

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Commissioned by Chin Cheng Lin and Artesis Hogeschool Antwerpen Royal Conservatoire, Rich O'Meara's new piece for marimba consists almost exclusively of double lateral and single alternating strokes, has many tempo fluctuations and is improvisatory in nature. However, it looks a little more difficult and is a little longer than the typical O'Meara solo marimba piece you may be used to (e.g. "Restless," "Tunes for Mary O").
With lots of repetition and variation, the piece is more thematic than motivic. A phrase is created with a permutation of notes and stickings that repeats itself or is transposed to another set of intervals. Technically, this would be a great piece to strengthen your wide interval double lateral and single alternating strokes. There are sevenths and octaves all over with very few double vertical strokes. Tonally, it is on the dark side with sevenths and tri-tones prevailing. The piece is also quite long. At 352 measures and 16 pages, I estimate it to run about 10 minutes. However, there is a lot of repetition, so the difficulty for the soloist is stamina, not learning a lot of notes.
There are no surprises with this work, and if you are already an O'Meara fan, you'll enjoy it. However, the idiomatic qualities of a piece that some people love turn others away. He's done a good job of creating a beefy piece for marimba that looks to be worth the time it will take to learn it.
Julia Gaines, Percussive Notes -- November 2012

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