John Luther Adams' Qilyaun for four Bass Drums. Composed in 1998. Score and parts.
"Qilyaun" is the Iñupiaq word for the shaman’s drum. Translated literally, it means "device of power". The drum is the shaman’s vehicle for spirit journeys. The shaman rides the sound of the drum to and from the spirit world.
Qilyaun (1998) may be performed by four drummers each playing a bass drum, or by a single drummer with electronic delay.
Commissioned by the Fairbanks Symphony Association, the piece is dedicated to Scott Deal, who gave its first performances. Qilyaun traverses a continuum of rhythm. From the rapid-fire streams of the opening, the drummers gradually decelerate to sustained rolls in the middle and then gradually accelerate again to the unison ending. - John Luther Adams