The composer writes: Written for acclaimed piano and percussion duo of Vicky Chow and Ben Reimer, Kickin’ It is a work that provides two performers the opportunity to showcase their virtuoso skills. There were a number of elements that inspired its creation: Vicky and Ben, the art of improvisation, the music of Squarepusher, jazz, gamelan music, Chinese folk music, and the crime novels of James Ellroy. Compositionally speaking, the work brings together two separate streams I have been developing in my musical language. One is my experience in writing for percussion instruments, and the other is my on-going pursuit in developing my pianistic language—the tactile and gestural elements (or “signatures”) that define my own performance practice. Kickin’ It therefore represents the confluence of the two streams. The two players are featured on equal levels of importance as they maintain their constant dialogue with one another while covering a wide expressive range. Kickin’ It was commissioned by Ben Reimer with financial assistance from the Canada Council of the Arts. The premiere performance was by Ben Reimer (perc.) and Vicky Chow (pno) at The Fox Cabaret, Vancouver, BC, Canada on 23 January 2017. An arrangement of this work for drum kit and piano trio, titled Kickin’ It 2.0 (PE169), was created by Ho after a request from Dame Evelyn Glennie. While there are some structural differences between this and Kickin’ It 2.0, the drum kit part is essentially the same, and the piano is similar except for the latter part of the fourth movement. Performance notes General • It is suggested that the piano be amplified in accordance with the size and acoustics of the venue. A monitor speaker may be required for the percussionist to better hear the pianist. • There are significant sections of guided and free improvisation required from both performers in this work. In some instances the rhythmic gestures or pitch contours are provided and should be followed. • The third movement contains a section of free improvisation where both performers are encouraged to interact (play off each other), include extended techniques, and gradually build in intensity throughout. PE168 – vi
• Performers may take liberties with anything that is written as long as they both agree to the changes and the departure from what is printed retains the spirit of the music. • In the fourth movement, m.43, extra time may optionally be taken here by repeating beats 1–2 of this measure—like a vamp—before moving onto the next section. This option can be applied elsewhere in this movement if required by the performers. • Later in the fourth movement, m.200, an extra crotchet beat may be added between beat 1 and 2 to allow more time for the pianist to shift position between the chords and semiquaver passages. This applies to the rest of this section through to m.242. The percussionist should play through the added beat with similar material. • All movements are to be performed attacca. Drum Kit • Soft marimba mallets, wire brushes and standard drumsticks are required. • For the second movement, the snares should be off and hands and fingers are to be used on the drums and cymbals. • Drum Legend: rim shot ã œ œ œ œ^ œ œ ¿ ‚ ¿ Ã ¿ À bell ¿ ¿ ¿ Bass Drum Floor Tom Snare Drum Mid-high Toms Ride Cym. Hi-hat Crash Cymbals Piano • Distribution of notes between the hands during passage work is suggested in some instances as marked. Elsewhere the distribution is left to the pianist’s discretion or shown using the two staves. • The second movement contains an extended section of tremolo (mm.9–35) which can recorded and played back through the audio system instead of the pianist playing this passage live. Reverb and delay should be used on this recorded audio to create an eerie or ghostly sound to contrast the live acoustic piano. • Some playing inside the piano is required in the second movement using the fingertips or PE168 – vii
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