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A Farewell to Those Left Behind

Composer: Tim Ferchen

Instrument: Vibraphone

Level: Advanced

Published: 2009

Price: €16.00

Item details

  • Description +
    • Duration: 5 min.

      In August of 2005 a hurricane by the name of Katrina hit the southern coast of the United States. It left in it's wake thousands of people dead, and many more without homes. In New Orleans, where 80% of the city was flooded, many of the poor and elderly unable to escape or be rescued were never saved. This piece is dedicated to them.

      Performance notes

      The motor on the vibraphone should be on as slowly as possible. For the sake of clarity, most of the pedal marks have been left off. The piece should be played as legato as possible. Any special pedaling are marked and the use of mallet dampening should be used to control the movement of single notes within the harmony. The choice of mallets is left to the performer, but they should be medium soft- medium. Accidentals refer only to notes within the same measure and within the same octave.

  • Instrumentation +
    • Marimba (5-octave)

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  • About the composer +
    • For more information please contact the Publishing House.

  • Reviews +
    • Review (Percussive Notes, March (58) 2012)

      This piece for solo vibraphone uses a variety of recurring themes to communicate the sorrow felt for those who perished in Hurricane Katrina. Tonal throughout, a combination of classical and jazz harmonies is used. Perhaps the latter is intended as a nod to the city of New Orleans. Scored for four mallets, the texture alternates between lush chordal writing and active rhythmic figures—all appearing to be idiomatically conceived for the instrument.


      The piece opens with a spacious chordal section, creating a mood that is expressive and mournful. This is followed by a melody in the top mallet, accompanied by thirty-second notes played between the other mallets. While these rhythms may appear intimidating upon first glance, a tempo marking of 40 bpm makes the accompaniment lines more accessible. Here the performer must be sensitive to the prominence of the upper melodic line by way of pedaling, mallet choice, and balance, to give the rendering of a slow-moving melody over the top of a fluttering, yet light, accompaniment. These ideas recur several times before the piece comes to a close with a final statement of the opening theme.


      Although an intermediate percussionist, with the requisite amount of preparation, would be able to handle the technical demands of this piece, an advanced understanding of dampening, pedaling, and musical intuition is required in order to distinguish the melodic lines, note durations, and overall pacing of the work in order to move seamlessly from one phrase to the next in a way that makes the emotional weight of the music obvious to the listener. For this reason, “A Farewell to Those Left Behind” would serve as a fine recital choice for an advanced undergraduate to professional performer in search of a piece that straddles the classical and jazz idioms in a way that is expressively meaningful.

      Jason Baker

  • Credits +
    • Front Cover graphics and layout: Ronni Kot Wenzell
      Dedicated to Ronni Kot Wenzell
      Engraving: Johan Svitzer
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
      Copyright © Edition Svitzer