Composer: Rich O’Meara
Instrument: Percussion Quintet
Duration: 7 min.
This piece was commissioned by the eminent percussionist, composer, and teacher, Søren Monrad, to be premiered by Odense Percussion. I am very grateful for the opportunity to compose a new work that will be interpreted by such able and eager performers. Many thanks as well to Johan Svitzer for his encouragement during this process, and for this beautiful publication that will enable others to perform it.
The inspiration for this piece is multi-faceted. Since the devastating loss of our son, Kevin, in October of 2020, I’ve found solace listening to the many recordings that we made together over the years. Kevin was a generous, loving spirit with boundless musical skills. In this piece, I tried to incorporate some of his unique drumming style. Often when improvising on drum set, his left foot kept a steady rhythm on the hi-hat while he overlaid sliding polyrhythms with his other three limbs. When we improvised together in this style, the overall effect was sometimes mesmerizing, as the underlying pulse became elusive.
Kevin was also a gifted visual artist with profound insight into our relationships with the natural world and with each other. I was deeply moved by one of his drawings depicting the number seven in the center, with several different flowing geometric designs surrounding it. Seven held special meaning for Kevin. Although displaying strict mathematical form, I also saw the designs as opening flower buds or the unfurling of a delicate seashell. Within the drawing he had written “Seventh Dazed Inventions,” followed by a few lines about the seven days of the week. Monday through Friday are for working hands. Day six is for idle hands, while the seventh day is reserved for folded hands. Although condensed to three movements, HANDS follows this arc, and the number seven is infused throughout. I hope that some of Kevin’s love of invention and his beautiful spirit come through as you listen to or play this music.
Marimba 4 Octave
Marimba 5 Octave
Wind Gong (at shoulder height)
China Cymbal (low)
Crash Cymbal (dark thin)
2 Bongos (low – high)
Snare Drum Concert
About the composer +
Rich O’Meara is most known for his compositions for marimba that are performed and recorded throughout the world. His solo album, Red Chard, presents the premiere of Tsubaki Dance for marimba and drumset. It also features works for solo marimba, chamber percussion, electronic music, and improvisation. His work has been featured on the NPR program “New Sounds” and the PBS documentary “The Music Instinct, Science and Song”. He presented a master class and concert of his works at the Eighth International Festival of Percussion in Argentina and has received four ASCAP Plus awards.
As a founding member of Silent Orchestra, he began a collaboration with Carlos Garza to develop and perform new scores for classic silent films. They have appeared at museums, theaters, and film festivals throughout the U.S., as well as at PASIC in 2001. Their scores for the iconic films Nosferatu (1922) and Salome (1923) are available on DVD.
Working with playwright/actor David Kessler, he created and performed music for two live multi-media theater productions during the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, DC.
O’Meara has performed with Kwo’m Percussion, Sandbox Percussion, One Earth Percussion Theatre, the Contemporary Music Forum, the National Symphony Orchestra, and as a soloist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and The Women Composer’s Orchestra. Along with the members of So Percussion and his son, Kevin O’Meara, he has played with the Dan Deacon Ensemble and appears on Deacon's albums Bromst, America, and his soundtrack for Well Groomed. He is an active member of the experimental music scene, and has produced three albums with Colla Parte, a quartet that creates music in the moment.
Rich and his wife, Patsy, currently live in Bethel, Connecticut with their extended family and four dogs.
Drawing: Kevin O'Meara
Front Cover Design: Ronni Kot Wenzell
Photo: Rick Bowser
Engraving: Tom Kohnen
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
Copyright © Edition SVITZER