sechs trommeln (six ‘re drumming) for six percussionists (2008, 5’)
First performance: Hannover/Germany, Großer Garten Herrenhausen, August 1st 2008, by Ensemble S
Ensemble S is a collective of six German and Dutch percussionists, coordinated by Stephan Meier, based in Hannover. They often perform in their own red and blue circus tent, creating a spatial experience for their audience by placing themselves around them, right in the middle of them, playing both outside and inside the tent, making instruments and sounds move through space, and by fully integrating amplification, electronics and environmental sounds.
sechs trommeln (six ‘re drumming) is a mobile piece for six percussionists, each of them playing one snare drum only, placed on a stand. All six snare drums sound quite different and are played in various ways, so that a wide variety of textures and colours is achieved.
Musically speaking, the six players are individuals in the independent way they play their rhythms, time their actions and apply sound colours. However, they show clear group behaviour in the musical language they use, the way they develop their material, and the interaction that occurs.
Initially the six players surround the audience in a wide circle, the music generously filling the space. Then, literally step by step, they come closer and closer, the music becoming more and more subtle and detailed. At the end of the piece the six players are positioned in the smallest possible circle, in the center of the auditorium, allowing the music to die out organically.