Percussion Ensemble Music
This chapter discusses Beyer's percussion ensemble compositions. Between 1933 and 1942, Beyer composed eight works for percussion ensemble—a total of nineteen movements and about seventy-five minutes' worth of music. She composed her first work for percussion ensemble—the three-movement, thirteen-minute-long Percussion Suite—in 1933. The Percussion Suite is scored for Chinese blocks, triangle, tambourine, cymbal, bass drum, xylophone, rattle, castanets, and tam-tam. The first movement is characterized by the austere, quiet plodding of the bass drum, which begins and ends the piece, and is constant throughout. The second movement of the suite features an oft-repeated solo xylophone melody, with ever expanding intervals and frequent rhythmic variation, as well as regular use of both slow and fast glissandi, revealing Beyer's growing interest in sliding tones. Beyer's next percussion ensemble piece was a five-movement, approximately twelve-minute nonet titled Percussion (1935).
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