Walk Suite (2002)

Walk Suite for solo marimba

I had just begun judging for the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association in 1997, and I quickly became frustrated with the lack of native music for mid-level marimba. It seemed like there was a TON of stuff out there for super-talented players (Keiko Abe and Alice Gomez are frequently featured), and likewise there seemed to be quite a few etude books available for beginners. But, for those players who were solid and talented, but not yet "marimba masters," all I was hearing were transcriptions of solos originally written for OTHER instruments; and, frankly, some of those transcriptions weren't that good. I decided to start work on a suite for solo marimba, in which each separate movement would satisfy the 2-minute performance requirement for MSBOA district solo & ensemble festival, but taken together could form a nice piece for a younger college student to perhaps feature on a recital. Work on my dissertation got in the way of completing the project, but I picked it up again once I got settled at CMU. The result is a suite that cleverly avoids the standard dances and instead substitutes a variety of "walks": stride, strut, stumble, stroll and scamper. Each movement attempts to depict what these various walks would sound like, with the "stumbler" literally making (intentional) mistakes and theatrically throwing down his mallets at the end.

(Available from C. Alan Publications)