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Composer: Axel Ruoff

Instrument: Percussion Ensemble and Organ

Level: Advanced

Published: 2019

Price: €120.00

Item details

  • Description +
    • Duration: 26 min.

      Performing Artists:
      The Stuttgart Percussion Ensemble
      Conducted by Klaus Dreher

      Signs of the End of the Age (Matthew 24)
      6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.
      7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
      8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
      9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.
      10 And then many will fall away1 and betray one another and hate one another.
      11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.
      12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

      The work was commissioned by the Ministry of Science and Art Baden-Wuerttemberg and was premiered in 1997 by the PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE STUTTGART under the direction of Klaus Treßelt in Stuttgart.

  • Instrumentation +
    • for organ and 6 percussionists

      Percussion 1:
      Flexatone (1)
      Snare Drum (1)
      Shaker (1)
      Gongs (5)
      Vibraslap (1)
      Boo-Bams (3)
      Bongos (2)
      Congas (2)
      Daiko Drum (1)
      Temple Blocks (6)
      String Bow (1)

      Percussion 2:
      Tam-Tam (1)
      Tenore Drum (1)
      Ringing Bundle (1)
      Tom-Toms (3)
      Boo-Bams (2)
      Bongos (2)
      Congas (1)
      Daiko-Drum (1)
      Guiro (1)
      String Bow (1)

      Percussion 3:
      Chain Rattle (1)
      Military Drum (1)
      Tam-Tams (3)
      turkish Cymbals (3)
      Tom-Toms (3)
      Bongos (2)
      Lions Roar (1)
      Daiko Drum (1)
      String Bow (1)

      Percussion 4:
      Thundersheet (1)
      Rolling Drum (1)
      Tam-Tams (3)
      chinese Cymbals (3)
      Boo-Bams (3)
      Timbales (2)
      Cowbells (7): (d‘, f#, b, h, c#‘‘, d‘‘, eb‘‘)
      chinese Gongs (2)
      Daiko Drum (1)
      String Bow (1)

      Percussion 5:
      Gran Cassa (1)
      Shaker (1)
      Vibraphone (1)
      Cymbals (3): (d#‘, e, f)
      Guiro (1)
      Tom-Toms (3)
      Boo-Bam (1)
      Wood Blocks (2)
      Cowbells (5): (c‘, d‘, e‘, ab‘, c‘‘, c#)
      Daiko Drum (1)
      String Bow (1)

      Percussion 6:
      Timpani (4)
      Metal Rattle (1)
      Tenore Drum (1)
      Glasses (5)

  • About the composer +
    • Born in Stuttgart in 1957, Axel Ruoff studied composition,music theory and piano in Stuttgart, Kassel and Helsinki from 1975 to 1979 and graduated with honours. In 1984, his graduation was followed by a master in composition. From 1983 to 1985 Ruoff taught music theory at the State Conservatory of Music in Trossingen, from 1985 to 1987 he received a scholarship from the Japanese Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs in order to study at the National University of Fine Arts and Music of Tokyo.

      During this time he was a visiting professor at several Japanese universities. Since 1992 Axel Ruoff has been Professor of Music Theory and Score Playing at the State University of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart. From 2006 to 2010, he was Vice Dean, from 2010 to 2014 Academic Dean.

      Ruoff’s oeuvre covers a wide range of genres. He was a scholar of the Kunststiftung Baden-Wuerttemberg and the Kuenstlerhaus Boswil Foundation in Switzerland. Ruoff has won several prizes in composition including the Landesmusikrat Baden-Wuerttemberg,the Valentino Bucchi Prize in Rome, the Ensemblia Moenchengladbach competition, the Pro Loco Corciano competition in Perugia and the ICONS Prize in Turin.

      In 1988, he was chosen for the Forum junger deutscher Komponisten (Young German Composers’ Forum) in Berlin. His works have since been performed in important festivals, such as the Petersburg Spring and Tokyo Summer.

      In 2002 he was awarded the Church Music Award of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, and in 2011 he received the first prize in the Saarlouis Composition Competition. In 2013 he was awarded the GEMA special prize and the BDMV award at the 5th German Music Festival in Chemnitz. 2014 he also won the second prize in the 3rd Uuno Klami International Composition Competition fororchestral works, in Finland.

      In 2015, Axel Ruoff was Artist in Residence at the Aichi University of Arts and Music in Nagoya, Japan.

  • Reviews +
    • Review (Percussive Notes, June 2020)

      With four movements, totalling 26 minutes in length, “Konzert” for six percussionists and organ is a nightmare, but in the greatest ways possible. Written and premiered in 1997 by the Percussion Ensemble Stuttgart under the direction of Klaus Tresselt, this monolithic work takes the audience on an extremely uneasy journey through various soundscapes that are all epitomes of the following quote from the program notes: “Signs of the End of the Age.”

      One of the obvious challenges of this piece is the instrumentation. Along with needing an organ throughout, and each percussionist requiring a massive multi-percussion setup, the parts themselves include a number of demanding, individualized moments that would challenge an accomplished percussionist. The coordination of the ensemble presents another hard task, as multiple rhythmic layers can exist at a given time—somewhat comparable to Elliott Carter’s piano works.

      Musically speaking, each movement carries a very distinct characteristic that ultimately culminates in the last five minutes, pulling all elements together into a bombastic ending. After a dark and ominous introduction, complete with chains and rattles, the second movement begins with the percussion instruments building a slow march, somewhat reminiscent of the percussion in Milhaud’s “Présages” or “Exhortation” from Les Choéphores. These various colors build until all percussionists are playing a drum of some sort while the organ constantly reminds the listener of something sinister underneath. The third movement provides the respite of energy but is still riddled with anxiety. With soft, intricate rhythms performed over vast amounts of space and an onslaught of impending eighth notes from the organ, the movement grows to a climactic resolution, with cacophony in the organ as well as a multitude of grotesque metals clanging in the percussion. As this fades away, it sets the stage for an exhilarating final movement that snakes through various meters driven by heavy drums and accented rhythmic ostinatos. Although harmonically distorted, this piece delivers a punch worthy of any group willing to tackle this monster.

      —Matthew Geiger

  • Credits +
    • Painting: Axel Ruoff
      Front Cover graphics and layout: Gaia Gomes
      Engraving: Johan Svitzer
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
      Copyright © Edition SVITZER

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