February 3, 2011
Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Jaap van Zweden, conductor
Dallas, TXSolo Percussion Battery:
African drums, Amadinda, Balinese Reyong, Bonang, Ceng-ceng kopyak, Cimbalom, Crotales, Doumbek, Ewe Set, Forest sounds, Gambang, Gender, Gentorak, Gong, Gong Puluh, Gran Cassa, Jalan Reyong, Javanese Barung, Javanese Gongs, Javanese Peking, Jing, Kajar, Kempur, Kendang Lanang, Kendang Tenganan, Kendang Wadon, Klentong, Lesung, Marimba, Riq, Saron, Shekere, Tenganese Tambour, Vibraphone
Saturday's premiere, conducted by music direct Jaap van Zweden, revealed a composer who has skillfully drawn together numerous strands of musical thought for a work that is not only intellectually successful but which can inspire sincere and immediate emotional response from an audience....
It's truly a shame that the premiere was limited to one performance; in light of the extended and obviously sincere audience response (three long curtain calls). This is a work one could easily imagine in the other great concert halls of the world, with all of the major orchestras.
Wayne Lee Gay, D Magazine, 07/02/2011
...it was a fascinating night of unconventional music. I was very surprised that the normally conventional symphony crowd embraced Copeland's work as much as it did. Indeed, at night's end, Copeland and the D'Drum ensemble were showered with applause for nearly 10 minutes, and brought back onto the stage four times for further adoration.
Darryl Smyers, Dallas Observer, 07/02/2011
It was a musical piñata, cracked by a drum stick, which showered its musical influences in a glittering spray. Jazz, soul, minimalism, reggae, big band, Asian pentatonic scales, standard two-against-three, unison strings a la Motown arrangements for pops concerts, and lots more was tossed into the hot pot and what came out was something both remarkably familiar and refreshingly new.
From the eerie beginning, when only a hidden fan disturbed a bamboo wind chime, to the '60s "environment" record jungle noises that led us to the reflective second movement, to the drumming of the finale, there was always something interesting and, occasionally, unique to hear.
The audience loved every minute of it and Copeland was given an ovation that Puccini would have envied after the premiere of Butterfly.
Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, TheaterJones.com, 06/02/2011
The audience fairly exploded Saturday night in the most uproarious ovation I can remember at a Dallas Symphony Orchestra classical concert. It came at the end of a new work for "world percussion" and orchestra by Stewart Copeland yes, that Stewart Copeland, former drummer of the rock band The Police.
Titled Gamelan D'Drum, the 37-minute, three-movement piece was commissioned by the DSO for the local percussion ensemble D'Drum. In addition to DSO percussionists Doug Howard and Ron Snider, the group includes John Bryant, Jamal Mohamed and Ed Smith....
Having studied D'Drum's complement of instruments, Copeland gives the players plenty to show off, including opportunities for improvisation. The music sometimes echoes Javanese and Balinese gamelans, with their hypnotic patterns on hung and kettle gongs, sometimes the intensity of African drumming. Mohamed put on a particularly brilliant display of drumming at the start of the third movement, the placement of his hands varying both pitch and timbre.
Repetitive rhythms and jabbing syncopations whip up tremendous energy, and many a head in the audience could be seen enthusiastically bobbing. The second movement, by contrast, opens with tropical-jungle rustles, rattles and bird calls.
Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News, 06/02/2011