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for five solo percussionists and orchestra
5 percussionists and orchestra
Edition: Performance material

Product Details


Shadowman was written for the Nexus percussion ensemble and the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra. It was commissioned by Michael Koerner. The piece celebrates soldiery, or rather the futility of soldiery. The five percussionists are divided: two players impersonate the Forces of Darkness; two the Forces of Light; while one, dressed in a tattered military uniform, impersonates the individual soldier as he drums his way through victory and defeat on the battlefield.

The orchestra accompanies this crusade of courage and folly with a number of tunes from military musical history. In the end, the soldier, mentally deranged, plays a variety of toy instruments and even tries to teach a teddy bear to play a toy drum. The valor and pathos of soldiery is exemplified in the piece, but the anti-war theme is unmistakable throughout the work. To my regret, the work has not achieved the popularity I had hoped for. We need more anti-war demonstrations in music. For a full discussion of Shadowman see the introduction to the full score or the article printed in the collection Papers, Arcana. R. Murray Schafer

Orchestral Cast

solo percussion: vib, small and med wooden bells, temple bowls, Japanese ring bells, song bells, Tibetan crots, sus cym, Thai nipple gongs, low Wuhan gong, bngs, 6 tom-t, log dr, field dr, 2 large bamboo chimes, marac, high blocks, wdbl, tempbl, reong, steel pans, cuica, boo bams, harmonica or jaw harp, dono, brekete, angklung, wooden spoons, toy instruments, 4 wooden frogs, Brazilian bird whistle

More Information

for five solo percussionists and orchestra
Performance material
Arcana Editions
Year of composition:
25 ′
Commissioned work :
commissioned for Nexus and University of Toronto Orchestra by Michael and Sonja Koerner

Technical Details

Product number:
Delivery rights:
Distribution rights for all countries except USA and Canada


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