Taiko (1996)

Taiko for percussion ensemble

The power of unexpected influence is one of the greatest compositional tools I think I've ever discovered for myself, and this piece was the first to prove it to me. Having just come back from a performance of the legendary Kodo, I was so enthralled with what I'd seen and heard that I quickly decided I had to try my hand at a piece in the traditional style of Japanese drumming. Mind you, I knew nothing ABOUT Japanese drumming other than what I'd heard, but the mixture of larger drums over top of the unrelenting spray of notes from the smaller drums proved to be a relatively easy sound to capture. The piece breaks no new ground in terms of the style, but rather achieves its effectiveness through its brief brutality of attack. Designed for six to eight players, it requires no indigenous drums but instead can be performed on easily-found instruments such as bongos, tom-toms and a bass drum.

(Available from C. Alan Publications)