This arrangement for four marimbas of the second movement of Ravel’s string quartet in F major is marked assez vif – très rythmé (rather lively – very rhythmic). It requires four advanced mallet players to be acutely cognizant of their colleagues’ parts as well as their own. The score presents a variety of musical challenges including the need to coax an appropriate quality of sound from the keyboard by means of attack and mallet selection, maintaining proper balance of all voices especially in crescendi and decrescendi, executing rapid passagework at pp and ppp levels, and the accurate placement of rhythms that juxtapose 6/8 measures phrased in three groups of two eighths and those phrased in two groups of three eighths. This juxtaposition of what is essentially the simultaneous performance of 3/4 and 6/8 is found in the interesting, dance-like opening measures played pizzicato in the original, which Gerhart imitates on the marimba by using dead strokes. Gerhart has retained Ravel’s original tempo and performance markings. Mallet choice is left to the performer; the use of multiple mallets facilitates performance of the second and third marimba parts. Contributions from the arranger include the addition of rolls, the use of dead strokes, the enharmonic alteration of E sharps and C flats to F and B for ease of reading, and the use of treble and bass clefs in place of the alto clef in the original’s viola part. In addition to informative and helpful performance notes, all French terms are translated into English. Another commendable feature is the inclusion of two versions of the fourth marimba (cello) part— one for a low-A instrument, the other for a five-octave marimba. For those with the motivation and ability to master its challenges, the musical rewards in this quartet are numerous. Rehearsing this work should help marimbists perfect their listening skills and develop the ability to match their colleagues’ articulation and phrasing.
Quartet in F Major (Second Movement) by Ravel arr. Dave Gerhart
This arrangement for four marimbas of the second movement of Ravel's string quartet in F major is marked.... Read More
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