Kontrapunktus, Op. 52

for 5 Japanese Drums and Orchestra

Lowell Liebermann

Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

The "Kontrapunktus Op. 52" for five Japanese Drums and Orchestra was commissioned by the Kalamazoo Symphony to celebrate their 75th anniversary and honor the retirement of Music Director Yoshimi Takeda. The work is dedicated to Maestro Takeda.

I must credit the Kalamazoo Symphony?s Managing Director, John Forsythe, with the novel idea of combining the forces of the KODO Ensemble with a traditional western orchestra for this commission, a concept which I became excited and enthused by after hearing KODO give one of their typically thrilling and visceral performances at Carnegie Hall. (This performance took place on February 22nd, coincidentally the date of both my birthday and the eventual premiere of the work exactly one year later.)

The title "Kontrapunktus" (literally, ?Counterpoint,?) refers not only to the counterpoint created by juxtaposing a traditional eastern ensemble with a traditional western one, but also to the counterpoint created by two formal concepts operating simultaneously: an ever accumulating rhythmic etude in the former ensemble against a rigid theme and variation concept in the latter. The sum effect of the two parts is a long dynamic and rhythmic crescendo somewhat akin to Ravel?s "Bolero". The title also refers to certain materials inherent in the work?s thematic treatment. A twelve-note row plays an important function in the work?s formal structure. It contains a motivic ?seed? which is in fact a transposed version of the famous B ? A ? C ? H motive (B-flat, A, C, G-natural) and which finds its culmination in the final pages of the work which explicitly quote the last, incomplete fugue of Bach?s "Art of the Fugue".

Apart from the five solo drums, the work is scored for a large orchestra consisting of piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, strings and 4 percussionists playing cymbals, anvil, slapstick, bass drum, xylophone, vibraphone, celesta, large gong, tubular bells and flexatone.

Available on Rental

Scores & Parts

Kontrapunktus - Full Score - Study - 5 Japanese Drums, Orchestra

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the Kalamazoo Symphony to celebrate their 75th anniversary and honor the retirement of Music Director Yoshimi Takeda.
Composition Date 1996
Duration 00:15:00
Orchestration 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) ,3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 0; Timp. 4Perc. 5 Japanese Drums. Str.
Premiere 22nd February, 1997. Members of the Kodo Ensemble, Kalamazoo Symphony, conducted by Yoshimi Takeda.