Dave Hollinden
Of Wind and Water
  • marimba solo, duration: 11 minutes
  • composed in 1992
  • commissioned by Michael Burritt
  • premiere: Michael Burritt, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, New Orleans, LA, 1992
  • selected performances:
    • Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, 2001
    • Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 1997
    • Festival Internacional de la Percusion, Conservatory of Music, Puerto Rico, 1995
    • Michael Burritt, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 1992
Listen to Excerpt:

Of Wind and Water appears on the following CD's:

View the Score:

Marimba with low E. (Alternate passages for marimba with low F are provided.)

About the piece:
  • The opening section is tranquil, with recurring tonal themes.
  • The central section emerges as an animated development of previous themes, becoming increasingly agitated.
  • This fades into a grave, rubato section and a quasi-improvised soloistic passage.
  • The piece closes with a return of the opening tranquil feeling.
Program Notes:

Chapter Two, verse 67, of the Bhagavad Gita suggests that the movement of our senses among the sense objects is similar to the wind carrying a ship across the waters. This image resulted in the spacious and tranquil material in the piece.

The verse goes on to suggest that the object to which the mind is joined takes away one's discrimination. This concept is reflected compositionally by grabbing hold of thematic elements as points of departure and elaboration.


Those in attendance at Michael Burritt's PASIC '92 performance heard his interpretation of a new work for solo marimba written by Hollinden on a commission by Burritt, who also programmed it on his recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. This reviewer, having some acquaintance with Hollinden's work, had every expectation of finding in Of Wind and Water a product of considerable intellectual and musical acumen. To this end I was not disappointed.

Hollinden's music derives movement from the juxtaposition of placid, serene sections, such as those that begin and end the work, with sections that are marked, to use the composer's directions to the player, "restless," "animated--excited," "increasingly agitated" and "impassioned." Explaining the derivation of the placid, serene portions, Hollinden cites the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita that "suggests that the movement of our senses among the sense objects is similar to the wind carrying a ship accross the waters. This image," he explains, "resulted in the spacious and tranquil material in the piece."

Like all good composers, Hollinden knows how to build a large structure from simple, brief musical ideas by the process of variation and development. The result of his effort is a composition that is fused into an organically unified whole, not one that is merely the sum total of a series of unrelated, disjunct events. In the development process Hollinden uses rhythmic variety to maximum effect. His score is quite idiomatic for the marimba. It is written for a low-E instrument; an optional version is notated if played on a low-F marimba.

This is superb literature for a mature college-level marimbist. Unlike some of the contemporary literature for that instrument now being published, there is as much in Hollinden's work for the musician as for the technician.

John R. Raush, Percussive Notes, October, 1994

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