8 Songs, 1 Hour 2 Minutes


About Marimolin

This gracefully named and unusual instrumental duo was founded by violinist Sharan Leventhal and marimba player Nancy Zeltsman. The ensemble name itself is an amalgam of their instruments -- the marim(-ba) and the (vi-)olin. No compositions previously existed for this instrumentation so, remarkably, Leventhal and Zeltsman single-handedly created a large repertoire of original compositions through grants, commissions, unique programming, promotion, and recordings. These new compositions inventively explore the many exciting timbral combinations possible with these instruments.

Some of the pieces written to date for Marimolin include Simon Bainbridge's Marimolin Inventions (1990), a series of brief "open forms" based on the sonorities of the instruments; for example, marimba harmonics follow a syncopated violin melody, the violin plays inflected "bluesy" lines underscored by marimba tremolos, and for the last "invention" the duo creates a "mechanical polyphony." Thomas Oboe Lee's 12-minute "Marimolin" (1986) is an intensely contrapuntal, concerto-like work in three contrasting parts with virtuosic solo work. Juliet Palmer's Starving Poetry for Violin and Marimba (1994), written in memory of the Chinese poets Gu Cheng and Xie Ye, is based on a Russian folk song about two lovers who must separate in "the middle of nowhere" during a snowstorm. The duo issued their first recording on the GM label in September 1994, and their second, entitled Phantasmata, was released in October 1996. Both included premieres of works by many contemporary composers such as Scher (Brechstimme, 1988), DeMurga (Hopscotch, 1990), Mackey (A Final Glance, 1978), Gunther Schuller (Phantasmata, 1989), Kohn (Cantilena II, 1985), Kraft (Encounters X, 1992), Daniel Levitan (Duo for Violin and Marimba, 1987), and multi-woodwind and saxophone player Steve Adams (Owed t'Don, 1987 - 1992).