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Sword Shield

Composer: Adam Tan

Instrument: Vibraphone (3.0 Octave) and Marimba (4.3 Octave)

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Published: 2022

Price: €20.00

Item details

  • Description +
    • Duration. 3½ min.

      Sword Shield was written for and commissioned by Freya Wheatley for her percussion recital here in Perth, Australia, completing a program of new works commissioned by Freya from Perth composers. Freya asked me to write a duo piece for her to play with her brother, so I instantly came up with the idea of a vibraphone-marimba duo signifying a 'friendly' battle with fighting themes - a friendly battle between two players.

      One player assumes the ‘attacking’ stance with their virtuosic lines, whilst the other ‘defending’ with chordal and punctuated accompaniment. These roles switch throughout the work, symbolising an equality of power in their battle, before both players realise the only way to resolve their battle is to combine their forces in a final moment of shining unity.

      Sword Shield is the most difficult duo work I have written so far, referencing similar thematic styles to my ensemble work We Are Heroes - a theme of heroic fighting, defending and standing up for others - with some drops of inspiration from the flashy and shimmering nature of my other vibraphone-marimba duo, Flying Colours.

      Adam Tan

  • Instrumentation +
    • Vibraphone (3.0 octave) and Marimba (4.3 octave)

  • Watch+
    • Performed by Freya Wheatley and Aran Wheatley

  • About the composer +
    • Adam Tan is a marimba soloist, educator and composer based in Perth, Western Australia. Adam is most known for being a YouTube content creator on THE STUDIO, a self-produced YouTube show uploading weekly episodes for education and entertainment relating to percussion. 

      Adam has performed and presented in-person in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and the United States, and has also presented online classes in Argentina, Central America and the United Kingdom. Highlights include solo performances at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), inc. percussion days (Japan), PAS Hong Kong Days of Percussion and Oh! Asian Percussionists Series (Hong Kong), Malaysia Percussion Festival, Chosen Vale Percussion Seminar (USA), Australian Percussion Gathering and masterclass presentations at the 505A Percussion Gathering (Hong Kong), MalletLab Summer Intensive (USA), WA Day of Percussion (Australia) and various universities and schools across Taiwan. 

      As a composer, Adam's works for percussion are performed regularly as they appear in repertoire lists for auditions, examinations and competitions around the world, such as the UIL Texas Prescribed Music List (PML). Adam’s works can be listened to on all music streaming platforms and stores. 

      Adam is the founder and director of Marimbafest Australia, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of percussive arts in Australia, curating various events including the annual marimba festival and competition Marimbafest, as well as the annual concert series Percussion All-Stars

      Adam has a Master of Music (Research, Percussion) and Bachelor of Music (1st Class Hons) from the University of Western Australia Conservatorium of Music. 

      Adam is a Marimba One Premier Artist and a Signature Artist of Encore Mallets with his own signature series of mallets. Adam's compositions are published by Edition Svitzer.

  • Reviews +
    • Percussive Notes, April 2023

      Adam Tan has provided another excellent piece for the duet repertoire. Written for marimba and vibraphone, the piece requires each player to have a firm grasp of four-mallet technique along with an excellent sense of ensemble playing.

      This work represents two forces at battle with each other. One part performs virtuosic lines while the other “defends” with chordal accompaniment. Along the way these roles switch between the players, and both come away realizing that they can be stronger if they combine forces. With this, each player needs to be able to switch between offensive and defensive roles. When playing the accompaniment, a strong rhythmic foundation will be required to allow for the lyrical player to shine. Throughout, Tan gives musical direction with phrases like “more pronounced, heroic” and “charging onward, with confidence” that will help the performers along this journey.

      This new duo will be sure to please audiences in any setting, from a collegiate recital to percussion ensemble concert. The audience is sure to enjoy watching two players battle it out onstage to see who comes out on top.

      —Josh Armstrong

  • Credits +
    • Front Cover graphics and layout: Adam Tan
      Photo: Adam Tan
      Engraving: Adam Tan & Johan Svitzer
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
      Copyright ©Adam Tan