Arena - Solo Version
Composer: Tobias Broström
Instrument: Multi Percussion
Duration: 12 min.
This solo percussion piece is extracted from Tobias Broström's Arena - percussion concerto No 1, written for Swedish percussionist Johan Bridger. The piece doesn't include the whole solo percussion part and it`s in some concerns rewritten to work as a solo.
The name Arena derives from the thought that the soloist walks from percussion set-ups through the stage during the performance with the orchestra. In the concerto three set-ups are being used: Back in the centre of the stage is the big multi percussion set-up (the one used in the solo version including 26 pitchless instruments), in the front, on the right next to the conductor, is a small set-up consisting of bell tree, dubaci, waterphone etc, and on the left side a five octave marimba.
The story begins in the back of the stage as where it ends in this 27 min. piece. Duration of the solo version is approx. 10-12 min. Arena - solo version was premiered by Johan Bridger at Kulturhuset in Stockholm 18 November, 2004.
Multi Percussion (solo):
2 Metal Pipes
Thunder Metal Tounge
Bass Drum (Kick Drum)
Snare Drum (Picc.)
About the composer +
Tobias Broström was born in 1978 in Helsingborg, Sweden. Following four years of percussion studies at the Malmö Academy of Music, he embarked on the pursuit of a Master’s degree in composition, studying with the Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson and the Italian composer Luca Francesconi.
Broström has composed chamber opera and various chamber music, but during the last years he has mainly focused on orchestral writing in works such as La Danse, Transit Underground, Crimson Skies, Crimson Seas, Kaléidoscope, Violin Concerto, Arena – Percussion Concerto No. 1, Piano Concerto – Belle Epoque, Samsara, Cello Concerto and Lucernaris – Concerto for Trumpet, Live Electronics & Orchestra, which was composed for Håkan Hardenberger. Numerous soloists, conductors, ensembles and orchestras, including, Robin Ticciati, Michael Sanderling, John Storgårds, Anna Larsson, Karen Gomyo, Thomas Søndergård, Andrew Manze, Dima Slobodeniouk, Johannes Gustavsson, Per Tengstrand, Colin Currie, Mats Rondin, Tõnu Kaljuste, Simon Preston, Johan Bridger, Hugo Ticciati, Jaime Martín, BBC Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Dresdner Philharmonie, BBC Philharmonic, Komische Oper Berlin, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Estonian National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Wales, Gävle SO, Helsingborg SO, Trondheim SO, Malmö SO, Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen, Vogtland Philharmonie, Oviedo SO, NorrlandsOperans SO, Aurora Chamber Orchestra, Brooklyn Rider, Musica Vitae, Third Coast Percussion Quartet, Malleus Incus, Essens:1 and Gageego have performed his works. Tobias’ music have been performed throughout Europe, the USA and Asia.
Between 2006 – 2009 Tobias was Composer-in-Residence with the Gävle Symphony Orchestra under principal conductor Robin Ticciati, resulting in two new orchestral works each year. Two of these, Crimson Seas & Lucernaris were selected by Swedish Radio to represent Sweden in the European Broadcasting Union’s International Rostrum of Composers in 2007 & 2009. In autumn 2008 his Arena – Solo Version was picked out to be performed at the 52nd International Festival of Contemporary Music at the Venice Biennale and his orchestral piece Transit Underground was nominated for best orchestral piece of the year by Swedish Music Publishers’ Association. In 2010 Lucernaris was nominated for best orchestral piece and in 2012 La Danse was nominated.
Review (Percussive Notes, May (59) 2012)
The title of the original work “Arena – Percussion Concerto No. 1” was based on the fact that the soloist walks between different percussion setups on the stage. Taking material from the previous work, this solo version is performed on a single multiple percussion setup consisting of 26 instruments. This arena of instruments provides technical and musical obstacles that only the most fiercely competitive gladiator will survive.
Tobias Broström wastes no time exhibiting the complexity of this composition. Within the first 16 measures, there are nine meter changes, juxtaposition of difficult duple to triple passages, and limb independence between the pedal bass drum and hands, in addition to performing on nearly all of the 26 instruments. This trend remains during the first large section of the work. While there is consistency in the rhythmic figures, there is little motivic repetition. The strictly defined, virtuosic material is complemented by a cadenza allowing more freedom. Composed in cells, the performer is allowed to determine the amount of repetition. Linking these two differing sections are occurrences of a one-person phase. Keeping one limb (either the hi-hat or pedal bass drum) constant, the hands accelerate rhythms until the next rhythmic idea is reached. While extremely challenging to execute, it helps create a seamless transition between these two contrasting ideas.
A suggested setup, performance notes, and sticking suggestions are included. The extensive instrumentation is notated on a combination of three staves. Due to the lack of motivic repetition and complexity of the music, extreme patience is needed when deciphering the notation. It will be an admirable accomplishment for those who achieve a successful performance; however, only the most determined individual will conquer the challenges that lie within.
Front cover graphics and layout: Ronni Kot Wenzell
Copyright © Edition Svitzer
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark