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Alexander Shchetynsky

The Light of thy Countenance
for four percussionists
(1996)

And he said, Thou canst not see my face...
(Exodus 33. 20)

1. The Lordís Laugh

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?..
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh:
the Lord shall have them in derision.

(Psalm 2)

1 Perc.: 5 bongos, tubular wood block, 5 temple-blocks, 2 Almglocken, tubular chimes
2 Perc.: 2 timbales, 2 roto-toms, claves, guiro, 4 wood-blocks, 6 cow-bells (high)
3 Perc.: 4 high tom-toms (single head), wood drum, 2 cow-bells (low), 4 triangles
4 Perc.: 3 low tom-toms, bamboopipes (wood chimes), glass-chimes, Chinese gong (middle)

2. The Lordís Glory

The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

(Psalm 19)

1 Perc.: tubular chimes, 3 Turkish cymbals, Javanese gongs
2 Perc.: Indian bells (zang), 3 Chinese cymbals, bell plates, Glockenspiel
3 Perc.: 5 metal tubes (high, indefinite pitch), 2 Chinese gongs, vibraphone
4 Perc.: swizzle cymbal, 2 tam-tams, crotali, high Japanese bell 


The work has been inspired by the Old Testament. The first movement shows an image of vanity and transitory. I used here only instruments with dry and short sound. All the elements of texture sound in isolation, as if they exist in separate rooms; they disappear without remaining a trace. Continuous gabbling, fussy roulades of percussion sound almost like caricature.

The vanity is opposed to the image of eternity in the second movement. Only metal percussion were used here. All the tones are extended in time at the expense of tremolos or naturally sustained sound of the instrument never muffled by the performers. In contrast to complete dissociation in the previous  movement there is continuous space of sound where all changes of tones and their colours are very gradual, and the tempo as a rhythmic phenomenon is absolutely non-perceptible.

Alexander Shchetynsky


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