Decoding the composition
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This arrangement of my Piano Quintet for percussion ensemble and piano is perfect for ensembles who want to perform a contemporary and virtuosic work influenced by Greek folk music. Arranged by Dr. Omar Carmenates, Associate Professor of Percussion at Furman University, USA, it features piano with percussion and mallet quintet playing xylophone, glockenspiel, vibraphone and two marimbas. The percussion and piano material in Carmenates’ arrangement showcases the skills of the individual performers, with individual lines combined into layers of collective textures throughout the work, making the overall sound of the ensemble evocative and powerful.


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Piano Quintet (piano and percussion ensemble)

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Project Details

Piano Quintet (piano and percussion ensemble)

for Percussion Ensemble (arr. Carmenates)

Arranger: Omar Carmenates

Instrumentation: Piano, Percussion and Mallet Quintet (Xyl, Glock, Vib, Mar, Mar)

Difficulty Level:
Instrument Tags:
Mallet Percussion

Programme Note

The Piano Quintet was written during the millennial changeover. It is inspired by and reflective of four composers by whom I have been influenced: Arvo Pärt, Alfred Schnittke, Jack Body and Johann Sebastian Bach. There is a fifth element of inspiration functioning here also; the collective ‘composer’ made up of a great many unknown musicians who live in the folk music traditions of the Greek Islands. This island music has always moved me in both its simplicity and refinement. The second movement of this piece is based on a transcription I made of a recorded improvisation by the brilliant Greek violinist Stathis Koukoularis.

While no music I’ve written has been programmatic, or had a literal narrative, I have come to realise that it is impossible to exclude what is immediately happening in one’s personal life from the final complex of ideas and emotions that make up a new piece of music. This autobiographical aspect of composition is nowhere more apparent to me than in this work. An example of how this manifests itself: some three or four minutes into the first movement, the second violin and viola burst out in melody. Prior to this moment I had spent almost an entire week failing to find a way forward from the previous bars. My family (three generations in the house at this point) took control and absolved me from all other responsibilities. Relieved of a great number of other pressures, I immediately found a way forward in the music, and the sense of liberation and sudden release is clearly audible in the second violin and viola as they sing out.

The third movement is an expression of the wonder and luminous joy I experience when looking at our beautiful daughter, Zoe, who came in to the world as I was working on this piece. The Piano Quintet is dedicated to Jack Body.