The Marimba needs to be amplified with a single speaker placed near the soloist. The house system should not be used.
Colors of Crimson, commissioned by the Luxemburg philharmonic Orchestra, was composed during the first part of 2004. It is written for and dedicated to Evelyn Glennie, marimba soloist, Bramwell Tovey, conductor and Music Director, and the Luxemburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
World premiere performance: September 16th, 2004, Luxemburg.
The orchestration calls for: solo marimba; 2 flutes (second doubles piccolo), 2 oboes (second doubles English horn), 2 clarinets in Bb (second doubles bass clarinet in Bb), 2 bassoons (second doubles contrabassoon); 3 French horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, 2 trombones; timpani, two percussionists playing vibraphone, glockenspiel, wind gong, crotales, large tam-tam, sizzling small suspended cymbal, 4 cowbells, low bass drum, triangle; piano, harp and strings.
“To me, one of the most challenging aspects in writing for the marimba is the instrument’s small range of timbral variety. In this work, I have attempted to adjust this limitation by using different devices in orchestration; some of them are subtle while other times bold. What I hope to provide is a diversity of tonal shades within the overall monotonic timbre of the marimba—Colors of Crimson.
The basic thematic material of the work comes from a reconstruction of a lover song I wrote during my teenage years. At the time, I was living in Qinghai—a remote province of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in northwest China—where the folk music tradition has always been abundant.
Critics says of Colors of Crimson: Bright Sheng's Concerto, based on a tune he wrote as a teenager, produced a work of utmost interest. The limited tones of the marimba were magnified in color by doublings with orchestral instruments, by canonic forms, by a constant interest in the legerdemain we expect from Mr. Currie. ...Bright Sheng had a piece I would listen to again and again.
The most recent performance of Colors of Crimson was by Evelyn Glennie and St. Petersburg Philharmonic conducted by composer himself at St. Petersburg of Russia on November 16th. 2013