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John Psathas: Buyan - hardc...Hardcopy typeset
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'Buyan' is a rewarding workout, testing the timpanist’s proficiency in various techniques. Across its six minutes, the player must navigate syncopated grooves in compound time, simmering roll and glissandi techniques, and play with their fingers. 'Buyan' moves briskly, its timpani line often skipping across the surface of the accompanying backing track’s dark and cinematic electronica. Indeed, the backing track evokes the mystery, intrigue, and exoticism of the fabled island that names the work, rising and falling in intensity like the tides that are are so integral to the island’s magic. The variety of playing techniques in 'Buyan' demonstrate the subtleties offered—yet often overlooked—by the timpani.
In Slavic mythology, Buyan is described as a mysterious island with the ability to appear and disappear using tides. Three brothers—Northern, Western, and Eastern Winds—live there, and also the Zoryas solar goddesses who are daughters of the solar god Dazhbog. Koshcei the Deathless keeps his soul hidden there, secreted inside a needle placed inside an egg buried in a mystical tree. Legends call the island the source of all weather, created there and sent forth into the world by the god Perun.
Commissioned by Diana Loomer
Dedicated to Diana Loomer