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Slopes

snare drum solo with 3 percussionists
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Composer: Paul Rennick
Publisher: Innovative Percussion, Inc.
Instrumentation: field snare drum, concert snare drum, piccolo snare drum, 3 high toms (double headed), 3 medium toms (double headed), 3 low toms (double headed), 2 log drums, concert bass drum, 3 sizzle cymbals, ride cymbal, mark tree

Program Notes:
“Slopes” was originally commissioned by John Roberts in 2005 at The University of North Texas. It was conceived by reflecting on a lecture given in Aspen, Colorado by a physics professor from the University of Chicago. The topic was fractal geometry in nature and avalanche theory. The musical material captures the characteristics of these subjects, with a falling direction and downward sloping motifs.

Review:
“Slopes” is a work for solo snare drum with percussion trio accompaniment. Combining rudimental and concert techniques, Paul Rennick has created a piece that is technically exciting and musically interesting.

The soloist performs on three drums throughout the piece: concert snare, field drum and piccolo snare. The accompanying percussion trio uses combinations of non-pitched instruments (Percussion 1: three high tom-toms, log drum with two pitches, sizzle cymbal; Percussion 2: two medium tom-toms, sizzle cymbal, mark tree; Percussion 3: three large tom-toms, concert bass drum, sizzle cymbal, ride cymbal). The piece has three large sections. The first is characterized by a quick tempo and the use of a concert snare drum by the soloist. The middle section is slower (derived by way of a metric modulation from the opening section) and features the field drum. Following another metric modulation back to the original tempo, the final section features a brief appearance by the piccolo snare drum, followed by the rest of the work featuring the concert snare drum. Largely rudimental in nature, technical demands in the solo part mainly involves the use of paradiddle, drag, roll (open and closed), and flam patterns. A potentially overlooked aspect of the difficulty level involves the execution of many of these techniques at soft dynamic levels, demanding an advanced degree of subtlety and nuance from the soloist.

While the accompanying parts are also challenging from a rhythmic and ensemble standpoint, they do not require the level of technical skill required of the soloist, making this work suitable for an advanced high school or undergraduate percussion ensemble looking to feature a guest artist, advanced student, or faculty member." — Jason Baker Percussive Notes, May 2010

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Paul Rennick Paul Rennick
University of North Texas & Santa Clara Vanguard
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