Featuring a balanced ensemble of keyboard and battery percussion, Mercury Rising is, in essence, a double fugue that gives all players the opportunity to shine. After a brief anticipatory introduction, the tempo picks up and the keyboard percussion introduces the primary fugure them (or subject), with entries by the marimba, xylophone, and vibraphone. The battery joins in the excitement before taking over the fugue subject, featuring the snare drum and concert toms. By the time the timpani takes over the fugue subject, all members of the ensemble have entered and the texture dissolves into a brief developmental 3/4 section, in which fragments of the fugue subject are strewn about the ensemble. Intensity continues to build to the end of the piece as the theme appears in its loudest presentation yet!
I created this quartet version of the piece at the request of the Siberian Percussion Quartet for a competition in Russia. Having written the piece 14 years ago, it was fun to return to the piece and rework some of the moments I never liked in the original septet (e.g. the transition into the 3/4 section at m. 72).
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