Non Sequitur Music

The Way of the Animal Powers

Play the last minute of The Way of the Animal Powers, from a recording by Bruce Hamilton, Andy Ditzler, Stephen Belans, P. Edwin Surowiak, Jamey Reid, and Chuck Lawyer, percussion, David Heuser, conducting.





















Composer: David Heuser
Instrumentation: Percussion Sextet (4 bongoes, 4 timbales, two sets of 4 tomtoms, and two sets of 3 timpani)
Year Composed: 1989
Duration: 3 minutes, 30 seconds
Pages (score): 18

Cost: Purchase: $15.00
($30.00 for set of three pieces: Totem, Secrets, and The Way of the Animal Powers

Representative Performances:

  • University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Contemporary Percussion Ensemble (December 2006)
  • St. Olaf Percussion Ensemble, Carl Holmquist, conductor (November 2004)
  • University of Miami Percussion Ensemble, Dr. Ney Rosauro, director (October 2003)
  • St. Cloud State University Percussion Ensemble, Dr. Terry Vermillion, director (March 2002)
  • USF Percussion Ensemble, Robert McCormick, conductor (November 1996)
  • University of Iowa Percussion Ensemble, Mark Dorr, director (May 1992)


Excerpts from the February 1997 issue of Percussive Notes (the newsletter of the Percussive Arts Society). Review by Lisa Rogers.

On The Way of the Animal Powers:
"The performers should carefully observe all mallet indications. Additionally, rhythmic precision between voices and within unison sections is extremely important."

On the whole set (also includes Totem and Secrets):
"All three of Heuser's works would be appropriate for college-level or professional players. Heuser is tireless in his experimentation with sounds and timbres; therefore Totem, Secrets, and The Way of the Animal Powers are worthwhile for performers and audiences alike."

Program Notes:

The Way of the Animal Powers was written in December of 1989. It is for six percussionists, all playing instruments with skin heads. I wanted to create a unified percussion ensemble where the kinds of instruments played by the group would be made of the same material. The Way of the Animal Powersis part of a trio of percussion sextets which operate under this principle.

Musically the piece deals with issues of mythology and ritual, which have been influencing my music from time to time for a while. I find these influences difficult to portray in strictly instrumental works, particularly since I wish also to remain true to other artistic instincts which I think are important (and perhaps necessary) for my music. That being said, writing for percussion gives one probably the easiest ensemble with which to evoke feelings of ritual, mythology and all their correlating concepts.

Note: The Way of the Animal Powers can be performed separately or as part of the above mentioned trio of percussion sextets. If all three are played, the order of the pieces is Totem, Secrets, and The Way of the Animal Powers.

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