for marimba, vibraphone and orchestra

Maya Badian
Maya Badian
Composition Date: 1987
Revision Date: 1995
Duration: 00:16:00
Genre: Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Orchestra with Soloist, Percussion Soloist


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Vibraphone ( Solo )
  • 1 x Marimba ( Solo )
  • 1 x Full orchestra
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Programme Note:
“CONCERTO FOR MARIMBA AND VIBRAPHONE by Maya Badian is acknowledged as the first concerto ever scored for these instruments in Romanian music history.
This Concerto is structured in three movements: I. Preludio [Marimba]; II. Aria [Vibraphone]; III. Perpetuum mobile [Marimba/Vibraphone].

The idea for the concerto came from her son Mircea who, at 20 already a virtuoso percussionist, wanted to perform the world première of the work. The concerto is dedicated to the dearest memory of Mircea Badian (1967-1989), who made tremendous contribution in assisting his mother to compose the parts of the virtuoso percussion instruments.
The composition of the concerto was begun during a time when Mircea was healthy, in 1987. One of his contributions of the work was the suggestion that it be written in the minor mode, rather than the major modal center planned initially by his mother. When Mircea woke on the morning of March 7, 1989, in his hospital bed, he talked of the upcoming première and also, to the astonishment of those around him, stated that he felt that he would die that evening. Tragically, Mircea passed away in Montréal that very evening and at the exact time the concerto was being performed. Years later, his instinct to suggest the minor modality and his intuition regarding the night of the première are clearly premonitions.

I. Preludio (marimba and orchestra). In the opening movement, the solo marimba is ingeniously treated as a melodic instrument. The movement is in a free form with the opening theme surrounded by micro-structures of indeterminate pitches, based on different cells from the theme and performed by the four members of the orchestra’s percussion section. These indeterminate sounds gradually become actual pitches, scored for winds and brasses. Transforming music from “noise” into “sound” is a marvellous technique, suggestively named by Pierre Boulez illusions acoustiques. Towards the end of the first movement, there is another example of this kind of illusions acoustiques - the pattern is displayed, alternatively, by solo marimba, piccolo, oboe, and clarinet, accompanied by string tremolos. The marimba’s melodic line culminates in a Cadenza requiring a high level of virtuosity, mobility, and expressiveness. A clear penchant is revealed toward the entropic progress of the discourse:
- Symmetry is created by following the metamorphosis from noises into sounds with a return to noises
- Asymmetry is created by the perpetual extension of the melodic element reaching its climax in the soloist’s Cadenza.
The conclusion of the first movement involves a complex texture of indeterminate pitches from which, once again, the percussion emerges strongly, transforming the marimba’s melodic motive into a patterned rhythm, above the tuned timpani’s foundation. The marimba solo once again recalls its theme, to end the Preludio. The same material, first used in a quadruple meter, is now dynamized by reconceiving it in a ternary meter that illustrates the composer’s typical economy of means. This metamorphosis is further led by the change, previously mentioned, from the solo marimba’s determined pitches into the indeterminate pitches played by the percussion section.

II. Aria, the second movement (vibraphone and orchestra), is built with a pure combination of timbres that justifies the movement’s title. An intense polyphony alternates mainly between three different solo voices: vibraphone, oboe, and clarinet. The interventions of the percussion’s indeterminate pitches, and a separate tremolo solo viola line support the solo voices with a contemplative polyphonic texture. The predominance of solo voices generates the lyric expression of this movement.

III. Perpetuum mobile, the third and final movement (marimba/ vibraphone and orchestra), focuses on the virtuoso aspects of both solo instruments. Groups of orchestral instruments participate, alternatively or simultaneously, in a complex moving soundscape. The main ideas from the previous movements - including alternations between
noise and determined pitch, as well as between solos and full orchestra - are presented here in a tumultuous vision, gradually involving the whole orchestra in fortissimo. This approach emphasizes the global effect of this concerto as a strong and powerful statement imbued with subliminal textures. This Concerto represents a major work in Maya Badian’s output.” - Fred Popovici

"CONCERTO FOR MARIMBA, VIBRAPHONE AND ORCHESTRA by Maya Badian, composed in three movements - I. Preludio [Marimba]; II. Aria [Vibraphone]; III. Perpetuum mobile [Marimba/Vibraphone] - explores the virtuosity of the two solo instruments and the technique of the soloist. Like a musical sculpture, this concerto sensitively blends the peculiar timbres of percussion instruments." (E. Douglas Hughes: Promenade Program Notes, March 6 & 7, 1989, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra).

Premiere Information:
7 March 1989, Vancouver, British Columbia
Marie-Josee Simard, marimba and vibraphone; Vancouver Symphony Orchestra; Jahja Ling, conductor


  • Call Number:
  • MI 1340 B136co
  • Genre:
  • Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Orchestra with Soloist, Percussion Soloist
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • June 16, 1993
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (64 p.);
    64 Pages
    Height: 30 cm
    Width: 23 cm
    Parts page count: 92
    14 parts ([92] p.);
    Height: 30 cm
    Width: 23 cm
    1 solo part (12 p.);
    Height: 30 cm
    Width: 23 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • Manuscript deposited in the Fonds Maya-Badian MUS 228, Music Division, Library and Archives Canada.
    Orchestra material available on rental from Lucian Badian Editions.
    Marimba and vibraphone soloist (1 player) / 1(picc),1,1,0,asax / 0,1,0,0 / timp, perc(3) / strings

    I. Preludio -- II. Aria -- III. Perpetuum mobile.
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