TERMINALS PART 1, DEPARTURES: five concertos for percussion quartet and master improvising soloists
TERMINALS, PART I: DEPARTURES is a thrilling and prolific meeting of the classical and the improvised worlds. The 75 minute work had it's premierè at Merkin Concert Hall, New York City on March 28, 2011 in a joint production of WNYC/John Schaefer’s “New Sounds Live” and The Ecstatic Festival. TERMINALS featured So Percussion and soloists John Medeski, Zeena Parkins, DJ Olive, Jen Shyu, and the composer. The piece has also been performed by So Percussion at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston, and by Studio Percussion Graz on tour in Austria and Hungary. In November 2013 TERMINALS made its French debut with Les Percussions de Strasbourg.
Some time ago I realized I owe my life in music to my college days at the University of Buffalo. I was a rock/soul drummer kid from Niagara Falls who quite by accident parachuted into a new music paradise: the world of Morton Feldman, John Cage and, most importantly for me, the percussionist Jan Williams. He simply said “look,” and there it all was, an entire universe of music I never knew nor could ever have imagined existed – music for percussion. Bold, forward-thinking, crazy, exhilarating music.
Airport terminals have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. As a boy, I used to sneak out onto the runway of ‘Niagara Falls International’ (there was a flight to Toronto!) and would lie down on the grass for hours as the jets thundered their take-offs directly overhead. One day, many years later in my life as a touring musician, and much removed from both those and my college percussion days, I was sitting in a Delta flight and, flipping through the in-flight magazine, I came upon the Terminal Maps section. I was immediately struck by how the shapes of the maps pictured recalled set-ups for percussion pieces. At that moment, TERMINALS was born.
TERMINALS, PART I: DEPARTURES consists of five separate pieces for four percussionists and soloist: one each for harp/guitar, voice, turntables/electronics, drum set, and piano/organ. Pitting the precise percussion ensemble against the uncontrollable improviser in the forum best suited to such a meeting, the concerto – a schizophrenic word whose etymology is much debated but in Italian means to ‘join together,’ while in Latin means to ‘contend’ - the inherent paradox in the concerto form is dramatically heightened in an attempt to reconcile the ever-fascinating comic book conundrum: What happens when an irresistible force meets an immoveable object?
TERMINALS QUARTETS: space and silence become the soloists in the percussion only version
TERMINALS exists in two iterations: the concerto version and TERMINALS QUARTETS, the percussion only version (without soloists).
The complete 90-minute piece places standard orchestral percussion instruments (timpani, snare drum, triangle) alongside those that were codified into 20th Century percussion literature (brake drums, anvils, almglocken), regional instruments highly associated with folk music (cuica, spoons, talking drum, timbales), electronic percussion (drum machine), and other un-classifiable elements (bullwhip), to fashion a highly theatrical, indelible landscape.
TERMINALS scores and parts are now available through Bachovich Music Publications.
Learn more HERE
"Bobby Previte’s Terminals is a uniquely visioned tour-de-force that is sure to change the landscape of the percussion quartet repertoire." — Josh Quillen
"Terminals is a great piece not just because Bobby is a genius (which he is), but also because he writes parts that are just fun to play, and that pure joy comes across in the performance." — Eric Beach
"Bobby Previte is a force. Each time he sits on his drum throne, it's as if he is discovering the drum set for the first time, but with the facility of a master drummer. I could listen to him play for days without needing to hear anything else." – Jason Treuting
Watch more TERMINALS excerpts from the live show: