Leonard Salzedo - Pieles from Diseños

Composed in 1964, Diseños is a set of pieces for six percussion players, each piece focussing on a different set of instruments from among the many that percussionists are expected to perform on.

'Metálicos', of course, is for metal instruments, some of which can produce a range of definite notes: tubular bells, vibraphone, glockenspiel. Others-cymbals, gong, triangle-make a crash or ping that doesn't sound like any particular note.

'Pieles' means 'Skins', and this piece is for drums. There are timpani from the symphony orchestra, and other drums of different sizes that also appear quite often in the classical orchestra. From big to small these are bass drum, tenor drum, side drum-so called because a player in a marching band can sling it across his or her side-and tambourine. Also heard here are the more exotic bongos, drums played as a pair that originated in Afro-Cuban dance bands.

Both pieces work with repeating patterns (as so often in music, there's a word in Italian for patterns like this: 'ostinato') and more tuneful ideas, for even drums can play tunes. The underlying pulse creates the element of excitement.

Leonard Salzedo (1921-2000)

Born in London, Salzedo owed his surname to his Spanish-Jewish ancestry, and he quite often used Spanish titles for his compositions. He had a varied life in music. Trained as a violinist, he played in orchestras as a young man. Then, when he decided to concentrate on composing, he made his living at first by writing music for horror films. After that he worked with various ballet companies as a composer and conductor. When he retired, he had more time to compose, adding the last three of his ten string quartets when he was in his seventies. His other works include two symphonies and a lot for smaller groups of instruments.