Video: Be Thou My Vision, performed by David Degge and Peter Holsberg
Pandemic restrictions mean remote church services. Remote church services mean home recordings. For me, home recordings of church music mean an opportunity to reimagine some classic hymns. As a percussionist, that means changing up time signatures, getting creative with orchestration, and of course, multi-part harmony.
Video: Clapping Music by Steve Reich, performed by David Degge and Dániel Janca
While in Budapest for the Hungarian premiere of Aurél Holló’s Cricket Tala, I played several duets with my friend and colleague Dániel Janca. As an “extra-curricular” activity, we performed Clapping Music in several locations one afternoon, then cut the video together for a single performance. Enjoy!
Video: Oblivion and Libertango by Astor Piazzolla, performed by Cristina Altamura and David Degge
This exquisite pair of pieces closed our concert in March 2019 at the Convent Ballroom in Gibraltar, part of the Gibraltar Philharmonic Society Concert Series.
Video: Cricket Tala by Aurél Holló, performed by David Degge
Composer’s Note: Cricket Tala is composed for solo percussion and electronics in two movements. It was inspired by the sounds of cicadas and crickets from beautiful Italian region of Tuscany, as well as the playing of the iconic classical Indian tabla player, Shri Anthony Dass.
Part One serves as an introduction. Above an Indian tanpura drone, a slow melody emerges as a sampled dulcimer tremolo, accompanied by the vibraphone – shaping a gradual musical arc.
In Part Two, the percussionist moves to a colorful setup of drums complemented by wood, bamboo, metal, and glass instruments. Once the tape track begins, he speaks in simple konnakol patterns while playing rhythmic permutations over various metric cycles, (tala in Indian music). Cricket and cicada sounds mark the tala (Khanda Chapu 5/4, Misra Chapu 7/4, etc.) as the rhythmic phrases move through slower and faster iterations. After reaching a climax, there is a brief moment of rest in the musical process as the sound world transforms. Out of this hazy atmosphere, a fast dulcimer melody in the tape track signals the beginning of the final section. The pulsation of this virtuosic coda, accompanied by a variety of percussive effects and dulcimer samples, propels the music towards its ecstatic ending.
I want to say a huge thank you to David Degge for his dedicated and spirited support of this project, and inspiration by his dulcimer skills during the long period I worked on Cricket Tala. On top of that, his musical playing on the video is a superb performance of the piece as I imagined it. David, I am much obliged for all of these!
Click here for more info about Aurél Holló.
Video: Mirror Study by Eric Cha-Beach, performed by David Degge and Dániel Matei
Video by four/ten media and published via Vic Firth
Composer’s note: The two performers in Mirror Study embody mirror images of one another. The two players’ right hands and left hands play each note in unison, and they each play pitches equidistant from the B-natural in the middle of the keyboard (the B-natural itself is only played once, as the first note of the piece). This makes the piece essentially a solo for each player, but with each note paired with a ‘mirror note’. It’s not easy!
Click here for more about Eric Cha-Beach.
Bucket Drumming at Bard
David Degge has taught at the Bard Conservatory Preparatory Program since 2015, and since he joined the faculty, he introduced students to bucket drumming in group rhythm classes. Students in these classes strengthen their understanding of rhythm through aural recognition of patterns and repetition, creation of musical phrasing through rhythmic variation, and construction of simple musical forms. David composes repertoire for the class and teaches the students by rote. The following videos from the 2017 Bard Music Camp are examples of his “bucket band” ensemble work:
Watch Color Buckets here or on YouTube:
Watch BumbleFumbleGrumbleMumbleRumbleTumble here or on YouTube:
For more videos, visit David’s YouTube channel.
World Premiere: Cricket Tala by Aurél Holló
Hungarian composer and percussionist Aurél Holló is a member of the widely acclaimed Amadinda Percussion Group. Over the course of his career, he has contributed inventive and challenging works to the chamber music repertoire such as José / beFORe JOHN5 and Gamelan Bound / beFORe JOHN2, but he had never composed any solo music for percussion. Until now.
Cricket Tala is the result of a years-long dialogue between Holló and David Degge, first proposed when David was finishing his Fulbright grant study in Budapest back in 2014. The work is presented in two movements: the first for vibraphone and MIDI sampler, and the second for a large setup of percussion instruments and fixed media. As the name suggests, Holló draws upon musical elements of Carnatic music as inspiration for the piece, but it is set in the context of a vast array of percussive and melodic sounds. In addition to commissioning and premiering Cricket Tala, David recorded several of the samples and melodic tracks heard throughout the piece.
Watch David’s World Premiere performance at Bard College here:
Video: Home Body by Andrea Mazzariello, performed by David Degge
Audio and video recorded by four/ten media
Composer’s note: “Home Body was written for David Degge, as part of his initiative to commission new works for hammered dulcimer. The piece asks David to play irregular patterns in the dulcimer in his hands while his feet lay down a basic 4/4 break between kick drum and hi hat. His voice enters and adds another level of independence, and then the hands pull apart into a more contrapuntal texture as the vocal part continues to intensify. The words reshuffle and recycle over the course of the piece, folding the mundane details of daily life into something more profound, or perhaps discovering profundity in the seemingly mundane.”
– Andrea Mazzariello
For more of Andrea’s beautiful music, please check out his website.
Home Body solo for hammered dulcimer, kick drum, hi-hat, and voice by Andrea Mazzariello is now available for purchase!
OMR 001: first cover (July 2017), hand-stamped, morning light, #1 of 100
One More Revolution Records has released Home Body / Symmetry and Sharing on 12″ vinyl and digital download. Vinyl release is a limited run of only 100 records: each has hand-stamped artwork and is individually numbered. Download card included with each record. mp3 download with artwork also available.
Video: paper melodies (my music box music) by Jason Treuting, performed by Mobius Percussion
paper melodies (my music box music) is a quartet written by Jason Treuting for Mobius Percussion. The original commission of the first movement brought the ensemble together in 2011, and the second and third movements evolved out of this ongoing collaboration as Mobius grew into a full-fledged ensemble. It is also the first commission for which David included his hammered dulcimer in what is now Part 1 of the piece.
Composer’s note: “I like music boxes. I didn’t grow up loving them, but for my birthday several years ago, my partner in life got me a music box that you could program yourself. It is great fun and very poignant as well. The box made it into a few pieces of mine and of my quartet’s. With Mobius Percussion, we decided to really explore the idea. What could a music box be? Wind it up and let it go. Each movement spins out from a small germ and unfolds slowly. It is in three parts. The core material in the first part sounds a bit like what I would write for a music box if I ever got the gig, and the last part sees what it would be like for Mobius to blindly program a music box if they had to do it as a four-part hocket. But each moment in the piece references the idea in some way.”
– Jason Treuting
The score to paper melodies is now available for purchase through Good Child Music.
Video: Wind-Rose-Wood-Cuts by Balázs Juhász, performed by David Degge
Wind-Rose-Wood-Cuts is a 25-minute work for solo marimba. Inspired by György Ligeti’s piano études, this towering nine-movement work explores various idiomatic and compositional techniques that place unique demands on both performer and listener.
Composer’s note: “Nine movements. Musical illustrations of a cycle, various stages of a coherent process advancing from unshakable tranquility to extremely accelerated scurry. Mood transitions and states of motion in picture. Woodcuts into rosewood.
The dramaturgy and the final concept of the cycle reveal themselves in their complexity only if the original order of the movements is maintained. However, it may be justified to compile abridged versions of cycles as well. These cycles of two, three or four movements may be implemented out of pedagogical intent and movements may be learned independently for the same reason. The aim at public concerts should be to give an illustration of the whole composition, even if through a cut version of the cycle. Certain movements are omitted from longer cycles, which may be of help when creating abridged versions. Appendix No. 2 contains all the possible shortened compilations.”
– Balázs Juhász
The score to Wind-Rose-Wood-Cuts is available for purchase through the composer’s website.