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perc(8):5timp/susp.cym/guiro/2log dr/ratchet/tamb/SD/vibraslap/Latin
percussion piccolo wdbl/gonga dr/hammer/SD/BD/tam-t/wdbl/maracas:
med)/lg tam-t/3bongos/4tom-t(med-lg)/drum set(hi-hat/2susp.cym/SD/
2tom-t/BD with pedal)

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes (Hendon Music)

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

Composer's Notes

Scored for a percussion ensemble of eight players, Bonham is an ode to rock drumming and drummers, most particularly Led Zeppelin's legendary drummer, the late John ("Bonzo") Bonham. The core ostinato of the score, played by the drum set, is reminiscent of Led Zeppelin's When the Levee Breaks, although there are references to other Led Zeppelin songs as well, such as Custard Pie and Royal Orleans. In addition, two other sources are cited: The Butterfield Blues Band (Get Yourself Together) and Bo Diddley, whose adoption of the traditional "hambone" rhythm added so much to the distinctive style of his material.

Completed in Fairport, New York on November 13, 1988, Bonham was commissioned by the New England Conservatory of Music through funds provided by the Massachusetts Arts Council. It was first performed in April of 1989 at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston by the Conservatory Percussion Ensemble conducted by its Music Director, Frank Epstein, to whom the work is dedicated.

— Christopher Rouse

Reproduction Rights:
This program note may be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with a credit to the composer.

Recommended Recording

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra/David Zinman
Decca 4444542

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