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Crown of Thorns

By David Maslanka

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Percussion ensemble glockenspiel, vibraphone I, vibraphone II, marimba I (4-octave), marimba II (4.3-octave), marimba III (4.3-octave), marimba IV (4.3-octave), bass marimba (5-octave) (8 players) - Difficulty: Difficult
Composed by David Maslanka. Duration 14:00. C. Alan Publications #31. Published by C. Alan Publications (CN.00031).

Item Number: CN.00031

The title Crown of Thorns is an obvius reference to Christ's "Crown of Thorns," but the name first came to me as a possible title for a piece from a seeing a plant called "Crown of Thorns" at the New York Botanical Gardens. This is a rambling, thorny desert plant from the Middle East, with small, green leaves, and small, very simple and pretty red flowers. The rambling, interweaving, vine-like stems suggested music to me.

As I meditated on the words "crown of thorns," and on the plant, and the idea of the work for keyboard percussion ensemble, the following image arose:

a darkening sky
seven stars are visible
the seven-starred halo
the golden light
the hands of blessing

The seven-starred halo is the crown of thorns transcended. It is the crown of highest spiritual power arrived at through the greatest depth of suffering. The imagery is Christian, but the experience transcends religion, and is universal. The music is at times sober and reflective, but is, for the most part, filled with the joy of liberation.

About the OU Percussion Press
In 1977 the OU Percussion Orchestra and Ensemble embarked on a project that developed into a national model for the encouragement and development of new music for percussion ensemble. The OU Percussion Ensemble Commissioning Series regularly engages outstanding composers to write works for this medium. The Commissioning Series is responsible for the creation of some of today's staples in the percussion ensemble repertoire.

In 1983 the University of Oklahoma funded the establishment of the OU Percussion Press, a non-profit extension of the percussion area. Through the Percussion Press, the commissioning series compositions plus other works expressly written for the OU Percussion Orchestra and Ensembles have been made available for purchase and performance by the world's leading percussion ensembles. The Percussion Press' catalog numbers more than 50 works, all published in a non-profit venture as a service to the profession.

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