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Still and Changing Times (by Hsueh-Yung Shen)

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Hsueh-Yung Shen: Still and Changing Times, for solo marimba (1996)

This work is the first of the solo marimba works written for Greg Zuber of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, as well as the third work in general involving marimba or percussion written for him. He did its first performance at Juilliard in 2004, and has performed it on numerous other occasions, including a performance at Verbier, Switzerland in 2007.

Around the time of its composition, a marimba with a low E was still a rather recent instrument, and Greg Zuber particularly wanted a piece to feature the low register. The piece is divided in three sections: the first, largely on slow-moving rolled chords; the second, a quieter section starting with single notes spaced out with silences; and finally a build-up, leading to a climactic point, bringing back the rolled chords, but in the high registers. As the piece winds down, the conclusion back in the low registers is deliberately ambiguous.

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