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Kevin Volans

Publisher: Chester Music

She Who Sleeps with a Small Blanket (1985),
Work Notes
dedication: Robyn Schulkoswky
Chester Music Ltd
Solo Works (excluding keyboard)
Year Composed
16 Minutes
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Programme Note
Kevin Volans She Who Sleeps with a Small Blanket (1985),
She Who Sleeps With A Small Blanket was written for Robyn Schulkowsky and she first performed it in Salzburg in October 1985. Robyn had been percussionist in my earlier pieces for harpsichords and rattles and it was obvious from her incessant drumming on tables during the breaks in rehearsals, that neither her talents nor energies were being fully utilised.

This piece has often been mistakenly associated with African drumming. However the only overtly African thing about this piece is the title, which implies 'she who sleeps alone', ie. without a lover. I wrote it as a virtuoso showpiece for the player as well as a composition study for myself. After some interim versions I decided to limit the instrumentation to drums only, with a brief coda on marimba. I explored several different kinds of patterning, the principal one being cross-rhythms in triplets played with two sticks.

Kevin Volans

  • Ensemble
    Smith Quartet
    Kevin Volans and Robert Hill, harpsichords / Margriet Tindemans, viola da gamba / Robyn Schulkowsky, percussion
  • Ensemble
    Smith Quartet
    Kevin Volans, Robert Hill, Magriet Tindemans, Robyn Schulkowsky
  • Soloist(s)
    Robyn Schulkowsky
  • Ensemble
    Artifact Music:
  • Soloist(s)
    Arnold Marinissen
    Classique Bvhaast:
  • Soloist(s)
    Jonny Axelsson
    j a p r :
I mean no disrespect to other percussionists when I say that Axelsson is the most extraordinary drummer I have seen, or to other composers when I say that She who Sleeps with a Small Blanket (1985) and Asanga (1998) are the most extraordinary works: ferocious, lyrical and human.
Anna Picard, The Independant on Sunday,08/11/2009
It's hard to understand why, for instance, we have heard so little of the Swedish percussionist Jonny Axelsson, whose lunchtime recital devoted to Kevin Volans' three solo-percussion pieces was a real triumph of stamina as well as virtuosity and concentration. His recital was also a showcase of Volans' imagination, his ability to draw an almost infinite array of patterns and effects from a relatively limited range of unpitched instruments (with a cameo appearance by tuned percussion, a marimba, in one of the pieces). The 1985 She Who Sleeps with a Small Blanket is already a bit of a classic.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian,24/11/2004
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