bryce beverlin II


composed by james wood in 1986

performed by bryce beverlin II

may 13 2000 performed at my senior recital in regenstein recital hall northwestern university chicago illinois click here to listen

may 16 2000 performed at percussion ensemble concert in pick staiger concert hall northwestern university chicago illinois click here to listen

these are recordings of live performance . no edits or overdubs have been made . i performed the work to the best of my ability

this cd contains 2 performances of the percussion work
to play audio :
insert in cd player . try last two tracks . don't play the video tracks in the cd player or it may damage your speakers
to play video :
insert in computer [pc] . files are playable on wmp or winamp . both are free to download . try

suminagashi painting above by brandy lachapelle

james wood writes:

In most early civilizations percussion instruments were (and to a certain extent still are) considered sacred, and to possess the power of magic. In Sri Lanka the Kandyan Drum is used in religious rituals and is considered to possess healing powers. In Java and other parts of South East Asia and China the gong has been credited with healing sickness, expelling evil spirits and defending against ghosts. It is even said that bathing from a gong gives health, and to be touched by a gong strengthens the soul and creates strength and happiness.

Rogosanti is the Sanscrit word for ‘healing’ or ‘quietening of disease’. Here the evil spirit is represented by a rhythmic cell from Northern India called Ata Trisra ( and is associated with the drums and wooden instruments - the good spirit by a cell from Southern India called Dhamar tala ( and is associated with the metal instruments. If healing is to be achieved, the evil spirit must become possessed by the good spirit.

was written in November 1986 for my good friend, Steven Schick.-JW


at the time of performances, bryce wrote:
wow. i don’t really know where to start. this piece has required more from me mentally, physically, and preparatorily than any other i’ve tackled. i’ve built instruments, ground glockenspiel bars to quartertone pitches, sought rare gongs, broken many mallets, pushed the limit of how fast i can get around the drums, and developed a slight twitch from the rhythms contained herein. the first time i heard the piece (james wood playing it) on recording, i was in idea what was going on. not that i know now, but i’m getting closer every time i think about the piece, listen, and practice it. in a similar compositional style as his, ‘village burial with fire,’ a quartet piece we performed one year ago, james writes music to truly challenge the performer as well as the listener.
instruments : the drums starting from the highest pitch are : bongos (4) : congas (4) : a large deep sounding almost slackened-head tom tom : large suspended bass drum : pedal kick bass drum : large slackened-head timpani : to the right of the bongos is a small tambourine suspended inside a hoop with rubber bands and small sleigh bells attached so the sound is initially tambourine head sound and the bells ring on longer : the large piece of hard wood on the stand above the drums is called a ‘samatra’ : next to it is a contraption called the ‘clapper’ made of wooden tongues sprung apart until struck when the tongues clap together : the golden metal discs above the pedal kick bass drum are crotales (low b + high b pitches) : the maraca is hung for convenience of producing swirling sounds before moving to other instruments quickly : the large metal sheet is called a thunder sheet which is gently nudged and punched in this piece : placed on the timpani is a japanese temple bowl which is struck with the large silver tubular chime hanging near the timpani : just kidding : above the timpani is a glockenspiel made up of tones from a standard glock and some pitches tuned in between notes on a regular keyboard called quartertones : for example, halfway between a and a# there is an a+ note...a ‘half-sharp’ if you will : the small bell tone to the left of the glockenspiel and timpani is a tuned drain stopper : serendipity played some role in making this piece possible : and finally, the suspended round metal object on the far right is a javanese gong tuned to an a : it is struck with the flesh of the fist and produces a bell like tone

thanks are due to those who made this possible :
mom + dad : michael j burritt : tj moore : greg stuart : john hain : don nichols : big country : brandy lachapelle : j1 [who let me practice on household items with chopsticks for weeks] : james wood



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