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Thomas - Merlin

Merlin

Andrew Thomas

This advanced level solo for 4.5 octave marimba is one of the cornerstones of the modern marimba repertoire. Written in 1985 for William Moersch, the piece has found success world-wide due to its depth, emotion and musicality. Composed in two movements, the piece takes inspiration from the the poem ‘Merlin’ by Edwin Arlington Robinson which re-tells the story of the destruction of the court of King Arthur.

The first movement ‘Beyond the faint Edge of the World’ is in a chorale style, with 4 mallet chords rolled almost continuously. Lush harmonies and voice leading along with long phrases and melodies present a challenge to execute both technically and musically. It should be noted that the composer marks that this movement be played with “independent rolls throughout’, however this does not mean each hands plays independent rolls (one handed rolls) but rather that each of the 4 mallets strikes the instrument independently which allows for a number of different rolls types (most commonly ripple rolls)

The second movement titled ‘Time’s Way’ is a motto perpetuo in a moderately fast 6/8 time. Much of the music remains in a very distinctive harmonic language while the rhythm is exploring different ways to sub-divide the time signature. Much attention to detail is required to reproduce all the dynamics and articulations correctly, and great stamina and musicality are required to perform this movement effectively.

Duration – 11'

Published by Margun Music

Annotated by Jeremy Barnett

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