Three Chorales (vol. 3)
Composer: Robert Oetomo
Duration: 12 min.
I have devoted my third volume of Three Chorales to contain arrangements of famous orchestral works and tunes. This volume is a continuation from the previous in that the last chorale in volume 2 is also an arrangement (Elgar’s Nimrod from Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma) for Orchestra, Op. 36).
The inspiration behind volume 3 came from a quote in an interview by world-renowned marimbist and composer, Gordon Stout (b. 1952).
“… because I believe that the softer, expressive side of the marimba is something that needs to be more developed in many people’s playing.”
The first chorale is an arrangement of Humperdinck’s Abendsegen (Evening Prayer) from the opera, Hänsel und Gretel. The second chorale is an arrangement of the famous cor anglais theme found in the second movement (Largo) of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, "From the New World," Op. 95, B. 178. The third chorale is an arrangement of traditional Irish tune, Londonderry Air, which is also famously known as Danny Boy.
Three Chorales (vol. 3) is dedicated to world-renowned marimbist and composer, Gordon Stout, in recognition of his enormous contribution to the marimba world; making it what it is today.
About the composer +
Indonesian-born Australian percussionist and composer Robert Oetomo (b. 1988) studied his Master of Music (Künstlerische Ausbildung) degree in performance at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim, where he received highest distinction for his final graduation recital in 2014. He completed his Bachelor of Music (Performance) Honours Class I at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Australia in 2010. His previous teachers include Professor Dennis Kuhn, Jasmin Kolberg, Claire Edwardes, Daryl Pratt, Richard Miller and Gary Wain. He has accumulated many national and international awards including third prize in the Vibraphone category of the 9th Percussive Arts Society Italy International Percussion Competition in 2011, the ‘Just Percussion Marimba Prize’ at the Australian Percussion Gathering (APG) 2010, first prize in both the Open Marimba and Open Vibraphone categories of the 2010 Australian Percussion Eisteddfod and second prize at the 2008 Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Snare Drum Award. He also won the 2010 Sydney Conservatorium Percussion Concerto Competition, and was finalist in the 2012 Yamaha Music Foundation Europe Scholarship Competition.
A versatile percussionist, Robert has performed with different orchestras and ensembles including the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, the Kurpfälzischen Kammerorchester Mannheim, the Australian Youth Orchestra, Synergy Percussion and Mannheimer Schlagwerk. He presented his paper, ‘The Transcription of J. S. Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suites for the Modern Marimba,’ at APG 2010 Symposium ‘Moving Ground – The Changing Face of Percussion’. Robert was invited to perform his work, The Legend of the Golden Snail, at the Gala Concert of APG 2010, performing with highly acclaimed percussionists including Steve Schick, Sylvio Gualda and Kuniko Kato.
As a composer, Robert passionately advocates the development of percussion music. He has composed numerous works for percussion which have been performed all over the world. His first symphonic work, Spirit of The Dreaming with solo didgeridoo, was premiered at the ‘2008 Aurora Music Festival’ in Sydney, Australia. Later that year, it was performed again with renowned didgeridoo soloist, William Barton. Robert was selected for the 2010 Ku-Ring-Gai Philharmonic Orchestra Composers' Workshop program during which he composed his new orchestral work, Reflections on an Island’s Landscape, under the mentorship of composer Nigel Butterley and John Peterson. His works are published by Edition Svitzer and Tapspace Publications. Robert is an Encore Mallets, Inc. endorser.
Percussive Notes, November 2016
Robert Oetomo’s Three Chorales for Solo Marimba, Volume 3 is a continuation of his arranging efforts in his Volume 2 (particularly his arrangement of “Nimrod” from Elgar’s “Variations for Orchestra”). Contained in this volume are Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Abendsegen” from his opera Hansel and Gretel. This 32-measure chorale in D major explores the beauty of the lower register of a 5-octave marimba. The arrangement is almost angelic in its transcription to the four-mallet, unaccompanied marimba repertoire.
“Abendsegen” is followed with Oetomo’s arrangement of the primary theme from Antonin Dvorak’s “Largo” from the “New World Symphony.” This 44-measure unaccompanied marimba chorale captures the timeless harmonic signature from Dvorak’s masterpiece and is set in D-flat major. The third chorale is “Londonderry Air,” another masterpiece chorale in E major with no introduction and a brief original codetta that captures the beauty of this elegant work.
In his prefatory remarks, Oetomo credits Gordon Stout as his inspiration in arranging these beautiful melodies for 5-octave marimba. Oetomo quotes from Stout, “because I believe that the softer, expressive side of the marimba is something that needs to be more developed in many people’s playing.” These three chorales are dedicated to Stout “in recognition of his enormous contribution to the marimba world: making it what it is today.” Any one (or all) of these arrangements would be appropriate for an advanced performer’s recital, as they each contain enormous challenges for legato four-mallet marimba technique.
Front Cover graphics and layout: Evi O. (www.evi-o.com)
Photo: Hari Oetomo
Engraving: Robert Oetomo
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
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