Virginia TAte by Paul Smadback
Arranged by Erin Freund
Publisher: Lyon & Healy
FORWARD by Paul Smadback, September 2005
In the summer of 1995, I received a call from Dr. J.C. Combs, professor of percussion at Wichita State University, inviting me to come out and perform as a guest artist with the WSU Percussion Ensemble. I was delighted for the opportunity to play marimba in public once again, and in preparing for this visit, I was inspired to return to composing after a long hiatus. The result was an early version of a one-movement work for solo marimba, which I subsequently completed and named in memory of my wife Lois' mother, Virginia Tate, who passed away tragically in 1986 at the age of 52.
In all of my compositions for marimba, I tend to utilize an arpeggiated style of playing which brings out both the percussive strength of the instrument as well as its legato capabilities and richness of tone. Virginia Tate is consistent with these compositional goals.
Musically, I wanted to initially create for the listener a mood of quiet reflection. The form is a fairly simple AABC Coda, prefaced by an introduction in c-sharp. The primary melodic theme, also in sharp, is stated twice and leads to a rather forceful section in f- sharp which develops fragments of earlier material. This is followed by a contrasting dolce in G, which builds in intensity and leads to a coda. Here, the listener is teased into an expectation of a return to the primary melodic theme when, instead, the material from the introduction is used in a downward cascade of chords, ending in a quiet echo of the opening theme.
Paul Smadbeck September 2005
The musical elements that make this song work on the marimba translate naturally to the harp, particularly its slow-moving harmonies, rising and falling arpeggios, resonant bass, and alternation between the hands. Edits in this arrangement include rearranging notes on the staves to correspond with right and left hand fingerings, and enharmonic respellings for smoother pedaling. Musical indications with accents, dynamics, and tempi have been preserved from the original where possible.
Erin Freund October 2017