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Harvest Drum (2012)

For orchestra

For picc,2121+optional cbn/2321/6perc/hp/pno/str
First performance by Symphony Orchestra of the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing
conducted by Zhang Yi, 17 March 2013 in Beijing, China
Duration: 13 minutes

Program Note

Harvest Drum for orchestra, commissioned by The National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, lasts 13 minutes and was premiered on March 17, 2013, conducted by Zhang Yi. It is in four contrasting sections that are performed without a pause: Shimmering Sunlight on Harvest—Sowing Rituals—Invocation to Nature Spirits—Dragon Fanfares.

Drums reflect many of the unique social and historical patterns that evolve throughout a culture. The rich array of artistic expressions from the Chinese drum culture (sacrificial, worshipping, farming, and warfare ceremonies; pomp, circumstance, and jubilation) gives full expression to the vitality of the Chinese nation.

The verve and strength of the Chinese Miao people inspired Harvest Drum for orchestra. The distinct privilege to be among the Miaos for several days in September 2011, experiencing their mountains, regions, fields, rivers, villages, farms, homes, architecture, animals, foods, beliefs, religions, ceremonies, music, instruments, voices, dances, children, was thanks to a fantastic, brilliant, and life-altering tour sponsored by The National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. This symphonic musical composition loosely embroiders legends inspired by their mythologies.

Chinese drumming is a group activity, often involving 6 or more percussionists, frequently dressed in ornate clothing with attention-grabbing colors. Harvest Drum features 6 percussionists, whose unison playing symbolizes the bonds between individuals in the Miao communities with a thread that goes back through many harvest cycles to the beginning of mankind's own impulse to create and repeat rhythms and patterns be it with the land or with sound.

The work is dedicated with admiration and gratitude to Martha Feldman.

— Augusta Read Thomas


How to list it in the program booklet:

HARVEST DRUM (2013) )                             Augusta Read Thomas (1964)




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