Composer: Daniel Berg
Instrument: Percussion Ensemble
Growing up in the 80s, my biggest inspiration was the Swedish Percussion Ensemble KROUMATA; six musicians who made a living playing chamber music with percussion. I attended several of their concerts and their interplay, virtuosity and common crescendo and accelerando made a strong impression on me as a young drummer. My first CD with classical percussion was the Kroumata and Keiko Abe. Fantastic recordings of Rain Tree by Tôru Takemitsu and Marimba Spritual by Minoru Miki inspired me to play both pieces myself some years later.
A clear proof of how big KROUMATA were in Sweden during this time was when the Swedish His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf turned 50 in 1996. As a birthday present, he wanted a concert with Stevie Wonder AND KROUMATA.
Today, when I received the commission from Odense Percussion and their artistic leader Søren Monrad, I would like to pay tribute to my childhood idols KROUMATA. In my piece, there are a few quotes from the repertoire that was so strongly associated with KROUMATA, but also contains the energy that was so magical around the concerts with the ensemble.
Thanks for the inspiration!
Player 1: Vibraphone (with motor)
Player 2: Vibraphone (with motor)
Player 3: Marimba (4.3 octave)
Player 4: Marimba (5 octave)
Player 5: 4 Timpani (optional 5)
Player 6: Tubular Bells, 4 Tom-Toms, Gran Cassa, Tam-Tam (large) and 2 Suspended Cymbals
Performed by Odense Percussion, Denmark
Performed by Ensamble de Percusión CATATUMBO, Venezuela
Performed by The Örebro Percussion Ensemble, Sweden
About the composer +
Daniel Berg is a Swedish composer, musician and professor in classical percussion. He combines the role of writing music with being a versatile musician and teaches solo percussion and chamber music at the University College of Music in Gothenburg, Stockholm and Örebro in Sweden.
In his passion to promote the marimba as a solo- and chamber music instrument, Daniel has worked intimately with a number of composers who have written original music for the instrument. This includes more than 250 world premieres for solo and chamber works. Daniel Berg is an artist of Bergerault Marimbas and Elite Mallets.
As a composer Daniel has written a lot for percussion published by Edition Svitzer like his Kroumata for percussion sextet, Images for Percussion Duo and Yán Jiāng (Magma) for solo marimba - a commission from the Taiwan World Percussion Competition 2020.
Review (Percussive Notes, February 2022)
Daniel Berg is quickly becoming one of my favorite composers for accessible percussion chamber music. While Berg is known broadly as a performer, professor, and writer, his compositions strike a perfect balance between edgy harmonies and clean orchestration. The thought given to his parts, whether straightforward or complex, lead to musical passages that are gratifying, with clear thought given to their feasibility on the instrument. “Kroumata” is no exception. This nearly six-minute work, commissioned by Odense Percussion, is fast paced with a clear understanding of the dynamic percussion ensemble style synonymous with its namesake, the Swedish percussion ensemble Kroumata.
As with the Kroumata ensemble, “Kroumata” is written for six players. While the tempo is fast with frequent use of mixed meters, it is not overtly difficult. The most significant obstacles would likely be ensemble cohesion and maintaining ensemble energy throughout the work. While the individual parts would be accessible for an advanced high school ensemble, excepting the more advanced timpani solo at Rehearsal M, a collegiate or professional percussion ensemble would be more equipped to capitalize on the style of the piece, drawn from a post-tonal harmonic language similar to the percussion writing of composers Minoru Miki and Toru Takemitsu.
Congratulations to Daniel Berg on another compelling piece that will surely keep listeners on their toes and eventually bring them to their feet!
Photo (Kroumata and Keiko Abe): Stig-Göran Nilsson
Photo (Daniel Berg): Jon Liinason
Front Cover: Ronni Kot Wenzell
Engraving: Tom Kohnen
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
Copyright © Edition SVITZER