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Elusive Peace | Ben Reimer | Percussion

Elusive Peace

Mar 25

Solo drum rehearsal with click track here.

Live performance of Elusive Peace  can be viewed here.

Listen to studio recording  here.

Back in May 2012, along with the amazing cellist Leanne Zacharias, I performed Elusive Peace by Rand Steiger. The piece, for drumset and amplified cello, was composed in 2001 and premiered by Steven Schick and Maya Beiser in 2002. After the premiere Elusive was never performed again.

I was fortunate to meet Morris Palter in Banff, AB, Canada while attending the Roots and Rhizomes session, summer 2011. During one of our many talks about drumset (Morris Palter is an amazing drummer) Morris told me to check out Elusive Peace.

So all I knew about the piece was that it was for drumset and cello, premiered by Steve Schick and it was extremely difficult. That was enough to grab my attention so I contacted Rand Steiger and told him that I was considering playing his piece and could I see the score… Actually the first thing I did was contact Leanne Zacharias to see if she’d play the cello part. I knew that if I didn’t have a kick ass cellist the piece wouldn’t work. Leanne said yes.

When I heard back from Rand he suggested I do a proper studio recording of the piece as well as the live performance.

So I began to work on the piece here in Montreal and Leanne started in Brandon, Manitoba with the plan to rehearse together for a few days before the concert in Montreal and record in the studio the following day. In order for Leanne to get a sense of my drum part (the various drum, cymbal and extra percussion sounds and cues) I sent her videos of me playing along with a click track. One of these videos is here. I was still in the learning process, but I think it is interesting to show how the rather abstract rhythms fit over a regular pulse. One of the aspects of the piece is that quite often the pulse is hidden by running quintuplets, avoided downbeats etc. so when things do come together, it is very powerful.

The live performance of Elusive Peace  can be viewed here. I am thrilled to finally share this footage. As with most live performances, it is far from perfect but I think it still is a positive presentation of Rand’s fantastic piece.

The studio recording will be released some time in 2014 but you can listen to it here. This version is a monster!! Leanne played beautifully of course and the recording sounds great.

Elusive Peace shows what is possible for a drumset part in contemporary music. Rand composed complex figures, across an extended drumset (including metal pipe, gong, woodblocks etc) but did so in a way that flowed for the performer. While learning, and at times struggling with the complexity, I could always sense that Rand (through his own experience as a drummer) understood the full potential of contemporary drumset performance.

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