Sam Solomon is an old friend and the best percussionist I know. He literally wrote the book on the subject — you can’t say that about too many people. When he commissioned me to write a work back in 2006, I camped out in his percussion setup and immersed myself in the sounds of his instruments. I was looking for a way of taking his particular, specific setup (he commissioned a work for a pre-ordained set of instruments) and turning it into a unified meta-instrument that had a character of its own. I thought about gamelan as a reference: specifically, how each gamelan is its own distinct instrument, comprised of the specific individual instruments that make it up.
The result of this effort was We Shall Be Turned. It’s a work that doesn’t really sound like anything else I’ve written, which is always great, and it is so impossibly difficult to play that it’s rarely performed. How difficult is it? You can finally get a sense of this because Sam has made a high-quality video of the piece, which I’ve posted on the piece’s page:
It’s a great performance of a piece written specifically for the person performing it and for the instruments on which it’s being performed. Thanks to Sam for making this available and for continuing to commit so much energy to the work.