New album DIVERTIMENTI – Marimba Alive! vol.2″ has been released. This is a live recording of the concert on July 5, 1997. It features two divertimentos by Kazuhiko Koyama and Seiji Yokoyama. You can buy digital versions from Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon and more.1
The program consists of music written originally for marimba in the late 20th century, except Bach.
Ingolf Henning: “Concorso” (1990)
Ingolf Henning (1931 – 2017) is a German composer. Concorso is a duo written for two marimbas. The outer sections of Henning’s sensitively written duo are propelled by shifting accents in passages of continuous 8th notes; the middle section proves that a captivating melody can still be found in a contemporary marimba work. (Marimba 1: Moyuru Oda, Marimba 2: Junko Sakimura)
-  Concorso
Kazuhiko Koyama: “Divertimento for Marimba” (1996)
Kazuhiko Koyama (1964 – ) is a Japanese composer whose work includes Symphonies and Piano Concerti. Divertimento is the original work written for Marimba. While composing the piece, Koyama consulted Junko Sakimura for various Marimba techniques and resulted in uniquely Marimba piece. The entire piece consists of five movements, out of which, movements 1,2,3, and 5 was performed in this recital.
(Marimba: Junko Sakimura)
-  I. Moderato Giocoso
-  Ii. Con Moto
-  Iii. Moderato
-  V. Presto
J.B. Smith: “In Light of Three”
J.B.Smith is an American composer who wrote numerous pieces for Marimba. “In Light of Three” is a two movements work with lyrical first movement and odd-meter, funk-derived second movement. It was originally written for a clarinet, a marimba, and tape. In this performance, clarinet was replaced by Alto Saxophone, and the marimba part was played on the right hand while the tape part was played on the left hand. (Saxophone: Naoki Kaneta, Marimba: Junko Sakimura)
-  I. Freely
-  Ii. Allegro
J.S. Bach: “Unaccompanied Cello Suite No.2 in D minor BWV1008”
J.S.Bach (1685 – 1750) wrote Unaccompanied Cello Suite most probably during the period 1717–23 when he served as Kapellmeister in Köthen. As the sound range of Marimba matches quite well with that of Cello, this piece is also often played on a Marimba. You can also hear that marimba brings out a different charm from playing with a cello. (Marimba: Oda Also Yuru)
-  I. Prelude
-  Ii. Allemande
-  Iii. Courante
-  Iv. Sarabande
-  V. Menuet
-  Vi. Gigue
Alice Gomez & Marilyn Life “Rain Dance”
Alice Gomez (1960 – ) is an American composer. This four mallets piece became popular among the Marimba players with its catchy melodic statements.
-  Raindance
Yokoyama, “The Dibertiment for Two Marimba” (1974)
Yokoyama (1935 – 2017) is a Japanese composer known for his soundtracks for space pirate Captain Harlock and Saint Seiya.
Divertimento for two Marimbas (1974) is an original work for two Marimbas commissioned by Tomoko Kusakari and Mutsuko Fujii. It consists of three movements. A lively first movement is followed by a deep, passionate 2nd movement, then ends with a blazingly fast 3rd movement.
-  i. Allegretto
Modified Sonata form. It starts with the first theme characterized by the ascending scale. After a brief bridge that utilizes the motif of the first theme, the second theme that is characterized by the long tone is introduced. The development section is mostly based on the motives introduced in the first theme. The recapitulation only does so for the first theme and the second theme does not come back.
-  ii. Andante
One of the most beautiful slow movement ever written for marimbas in the tertial form. After the cosmic introduction that borrows the ascending scale from the first movement, the five notes ostinato upon which the expressive main theme that resembles Japanese folk tunes is played is introduced.
The middle section is the espressivo moment. It makes such a contrast with the first section with the legato tremolo melody.
The return of the first section then is followed by the brief coda based on the middle section, which is followed by “attacca” to the last movement.
-  iii. Allegro
The blazingly fast-paced introduction forms such a contrast with the espressivo just before the attaca, followed by a sonata form that borrows much from the materials in the first movement. The movement closes with the coda with countering scales of the first and the second marimba to the decisive finale.