Program Notes

Humans have been telling each other adventure stories for almost as long as we’ve been around, and certainly longer than recorded history. Typical adventure stories follow similar patterns, whether they are ancient Mesopotamian myths or contemporary science-fiction stories. Heroes are swept up in unusual events in unfamiliar settings, they face a series of escalating challenges, and after a triumphal victory, they return home somehow changed.

Adventure! captures the excitement of adventure stories in an intermediate solo for 4.3 octave marimba that will delight performers and audiences alike. The piece follows the typical journey of an adventurer. In the first part, a bright, driving theme is introduced with syncopated rhythms that move the story forward. The hero sets off! Next, a second theme is introduced, this time in a minor key—a challenge faced by the hero. The hero struggles. The hero questions whether they can succeed, but persists regardless. That is, until the third section of the piece. This section is softer and slower. It revisits the first theme, once again in a minor key. In adventure stories, there comes a moment when the hero considers giving up, represented in this piece by a short, desperate chorale. The chorale grows in intensity—the hero decides to continue fighting—and the main theme returns with renewed vigor! At this end of the story, the hero returns to their home, as all heroes do, irreversibly changed by their experiences.

Whether you enjoy stories of elves and magic rings, or stories of spaceships and galaxy-wide empires, if you love a good adventure story, you are sure to enjoy Adventure!