Feelings and Qualities on Skin
Composer: Bo Holmstrand
Instrument: Snare Drum Exercise Book
(by Frank Epstein)
Here is another beautifully produced collection of advanced snare drum etudes published by Edition SVITZER. These etudes were designed to satisfy the needs of the students of composer Bo Holmstrand, one of Sweden’s foremost percussion specialists and teacher extraordinaire. The 10 etudes, expansive in nature, some four pages in length, are meant to be used not just as etudes to develop technique and musicianship but as colorful and exciting solo recital pieces as well.
Designing pieces for both study and performance is a challenging goal. Mr. Holmstrand has achieved this very thing. The etudes, each named for its particular character, i.e.: “Confidence…”, “Cheerful…”, “Authority….”, “Powerful…”, etc. give insight as to the musical nature of the material. Each etude is carefully crafted to present important rhythmical, technical and musical concepts including articulation, dynamics, rolls, polyrhythms and for me, most important: a musical line. I personally have always favored percussion music that features a long musical phrase.
In addition to all of that, some of the pieces use the most advanced forms of musical notation, including graphic notation. Other etudes incorporate a cadenza style: original, creative, complex and technically virtuosic.
These etudes will add another chapter to those books that insure a forward momentum for all percussionists. In short, these etudes will give snare drummers everywhere an important new landmark to achieve and conquer.
Percussionist with the
Boston Symphony Orchestra
& the Boston Pops Orchestra
Chairman of the Brass and Percussion Departments
at the New England Conservatory of Music
About the composer +
Bo Holmstrand was born in Härnösand, Sweden in 1935. While in elementary school, he started playing violin and later the trumpet. During the 1950s and 60s Holmstrand was a military musician and played the French horn, trumpet, violin and percussion. As a part of his training, he studied at the Gothenburg (Göteborg) Orchestra School, Gothenburg Conservatory and the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Holmstrand worked as a military musician for seventeen years, 1952-53 in Sollefteå and 1954-69 in Gothenburg. From 1969 until 1999 he was a percussionist for the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (GSO) and was appointed principal percussionist in 1976.
In addition to playing symphonic and chamber music, Holmstrand has also played in light music orchestras, dance orchestras, big bands and theater orchestras during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. During his professional career he taught music at the Swedish Armed Forces Music Cadet School in Gothenburg. He also taught at municipal music schools, elementary and high schools. From 1974 until 2002 he was a faculty member of the School of Music and Musicology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden - Teaching percussion (solo and orchestral playing, methodology and ensemble playing).
His percussion method book ”Slag i Slag” (”Beat on Beat”) was published in 1985 by the Svensk Skolmusik AB. Many of his former students hold positions as percussionists and/or educators. His book ”Percussion Instrumentation Guide for Symphony Orchestras”, a catalogue containing ”Detailed Listing of Instruments and Players” was published in 2004 at ”Edition Escobar” by Jari Eskola.
Holmstrand founded the Gothia Ensemble in 1982 with his GSO colleagues and students. The Gothia Ensemble is a Percussion ensemble that performs serious music and childrens music for young people. The group regularly appears in the concert series of the Gothenburg Concert Hall.
Review (Percussive Notes, May (59) 2012)
This collection of ten performance pieces for solo snare drum uses traditional technical devices to create works of contrasting moods and styles. Each is programmatic in nature, with the title suggesting a different type of emotion being expressed.
“Cheerful Attitude” contains a lively vocabulary of double-stroke “open” roll patterns throughout. “Powerful Thoughts” features an Adagio tempo and asymmetrical rhythmic transitions, leading to an ending that is fierce and driving. The final three selections in the anthology, “Open Minds,” “Strong Memories,” and “Inconsistently Manners,” are each made up of three short, contrasting movements. While all of the solos contain techniques similar to those found in etude books, the length of each work (usually 3–4 pages) suggests the intention for concert or recital performance.
Intended for advanced students and performers, these works contain challenges similar to those found in Delecluse’s Douze Etudes and Peters’ Advanced Snare Drum Studies. However, it would take a mature musician to render the pieces in such a way that the audience could understand the programmatic nature of each solo.
Front Cover graphics and layout: Ronni Kot Wenzell
Introduction: Frank Epstein
Engraving: Johan Svitzer
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
Copyright © Edition SVITZER