Water and Fire
The Marimba Music of Donald Skoog
Steve Hashimoto, bass
Sam Koentopp, drums
Water and Fire was my first large-scale marimba work. Composed in 1979-80, it won Second prize in the 1982 Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest. The first movement evokes the surge and ebb of moving Water, contrasted with the plop of light drizzle then a cascade through the leafy canopy of a dense forest, finally flowing to a gentle ending on the shores of a quiet lake. The second movement is about the Fire of emotion. It burns, feeding upon itself, in growing intensity until it ultimately extinguishes itself in a triumphant, if doomed, exhaustion. In the end, the fire is transcendent--reborn in spirit-- rekindled anew. If this sounds romantic to you, remember that it was written by a very, very young man. His romantic spirit is rekindled in me as well, whenever I perform this music. And that is reason enough for me to keep playing it.
The five trio works on this CD are collectively known as The Chautauqua Etudes because they evolved from music I wrote for The Chautauqua Ensemble. TCE drew its musical inspirations from many traditions, both at home and abroad, exploring them within different musical forms and on a variety of instruments. These five works distill those explorations down to their fundamental structures. Each travels its own landscape, a different musical and technical idea, searching for a moment of unique musical truth. This makes them hard to classify. Are they Jazz? Classical? World Music? You decide, because I can't. All I know is that each is very special to me.
"Skoog is able to coax such a wide range of cascading sound from his instrument that it almost becomes hypnotic. His work seems so fluid and precise that it is like the aural equivalent of a world champion plate spinner."
All About Jazz Magazine