Atoms For 4
Composer: Heng LIU
Instrument: Percussion Quartet
Atoms for 4 is based on the concept from atomic collision, which can produce a lot of energy because of the mass loss, and the mass is converted into energy.
With support from Koda’s Cultural Funds.
Each player have:
1 Tom-Tom (from high to low for player 1 to player 4)
1 Anvil (cans, dishes, small gongs or anything made by metal, from high to low for player 1 to player 4)
There are 2 cymbals in the set-up:
1 splash cymbal, shared by player 1 and player 2
1 ride cymbal, shared by player 3 and player 4
About the composer +
Heng LIU is the principal percussion of the China National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra, executive director of China Percussion Association, artist of MEINL Percussion, MEINL Cymbals, Innovative Percussion, Marimba One, and Remo.
Liu studied percussion from childhood with his father Yaguang LIU, professor of percussion at Xi 'an Conservatory of Music. In 2005, Liu was admitted to the Central Conservatory of Music. He studied with professor Gang LIU and professor Biao LI successively and obtained bachelor's and master's degrees. By the time he was 18, Liu had won the first prize in the National Youth Percussion Competition. Liu was a percussion jury of the Italian International Percussion Competition, where he also held master classes and special concerts. He also judges the annual International Network Percussion Competition and National Youth Percussion Competition.
Between 2017 to 2019, Liu embarked on his improvisation and interactive percussion concert "Give me one hour" tour. The tour hit many major Chinese cities including Tianqiao Art Center in Beijing, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, Xi 'An concert hall, Shijiazhuang Center for the Performing Arts, etc. Liu performed entirely improvised sets based on interaction with the audience, bringing concertgoers a brand new musical experience.
So far, Liu has published two albums: Percussion Visionary --Heng LIU Percussion Concert and DRUMS, an original album released by "Hei Chao" Duo with renowned drummer Yanchao LI. He also writes a personal column Heng LIU Said in music weekly.
As a percussionist, Liu has traveled to various music festivals around the world. These include: Italian International Percussion Competition and Festival, Greek International Percussion Competition and Festival, NCPA International Percussion Festival, Beijing International Electronic Music Festival, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Jazz Shanghai Music Festival, Strawberry Music Festival, MIDI Festival and so on.
In the meanwhile, Liu has created more than 30 works, including percussion ensemble piece "The General", "Memory", "Face2Face", percussion and electronic music "Delay", "Percumotion", percussion solo "Rain the Blind Monk", "Wild LEO ", "Poem" and many more. In 2016, his Chinese Traditional Percussion solo piece "Gazing on Mountain TAI" won the 1st prize of China Traditional Music Festival - CCOM ethnic Percussion works collection competition.
In 2019, Heng LIU won "Best Work Awards" and "Best All-round Percussionist" of 2019 Drummmer's Ceremony.
Review (Percussive Notes, February 2022)
The score for “Atoms for 4” is beautifully engraved with clear notation, a suggested setup, and a notational symbol guide. The piece calls for four percussionists to be arranged in a square pattern facing each other, each with one drum, one piece of metal, and two shared cymbals. The minimal nature of the setup makes the piece extremely doable for any percussion program.
Though the instruments are minimal, Heng Liu makes excellent use of playing positions, stroke type, and movement between the drums to make for a rich timbral palette. The piece is energetic, with drum hits, accents, and buzzes popping out of the texture to create a rhythmic melody. The players move around the setup, so there is a choreography aspect, which requires high ensemble playing skills. There are constantly changing meters, and all four players need decent drumming chops. The piece could easily become overly bombastic if the players aren’t careful to follow Liu’s carefully written dynamics.
“Atoms for 4” would be a great addition to an advanced high school or college percussion ensemble concert, especially if instrument availability or rehearsal space is limited. It would be a good opportunity for young players to experiment with choosing sounds and tuning drums to create a pleasing composite sound.
—Marilyn K. Clark Silva
Front Cover graphics and layout: Ronni Kot Wenzell
Photo: NCPA Orchestra
Engraving: Tom Kohnen
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
Copyright © Edition SVITZER