(A Short Concert Piece for Seven Percussionists and Piano)
Diminishing Returns (A Short Concert Piece for Seven Percussionists and Piano) was composed in 1994 for the North Carolina School of the Arts Percussion Ensemble and premiered by them in Winston-Salem, NC, the following year on 6 May 1995. The piece is dedicated to the (now retired) long-time Ensemble Director, Massie Johnson and his wife, Carol. Based primarily on four pitches (C, B-flat, G, F), the four-minute composition has a reflective middle section, which is derived at as the energetic and highly rhythmical opening section folds (or diminishes) into it. The opening energy returns for the rousing closing section. In Diminishing Returns, only standard percussion instruments are used and consist of Timpani, Crash and Suspended Cymbals, Bass Drum, Tom-Toms, Temple Blocks, Finger Cymbals, Bell Tree, Tam-Tam, Triangle, Glockenspiel, Chimes, Tambourine, Marimba and Piano. Further, two instruments – Crotales and Vibraphone – are both struck with mallets and played with a string bass bow so as to create a floating, ethereal quality of sound.