HOMELAND SECURITY SUITE for Percussion Ensemble

Sheet Music Downloads: Solos for Marimba, Vibraphone. Snare Drum, Timpani and more.

Whats New:

FREE CD's, Special offer: order any sheet music titles by Thomas Marceau or Robert E. Kreutz and receive a complimentary CD of their compositions.

Forthcoming Events:

PAS Italy 2017

The 15th annual Italy Percussion Competition and Festival will be held in September (2017) in Montesilvano-Pescara (Italy). The festival features an international panel of judges and performers and will host students from around the globe.

Current News:


NOW AVAILABLE Robert S. Cohen's new title for Vibraphone and Marimba Duo: Happy Fugue'N Birthday
Also available, for percussion ensemble: Love Triangles for Percussion Trio.

Homeland Security Suite

THE genesis of Homeland Security Suite started with my composition of Orange Alert for solo timpani. At the time, the country was actually at “Orange Alert” and I was amazed that a color normally associated with such happy and positive images represented such a state of heightened anxiety. After it was published by HoneyRock, I thought it might be interesting to set all of the colors represented in the Homeland Security Advisory System: Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange and Red.

IT’S ironic that until 9/11, 2001 the vast majority of Americans weren’t even aware that an advisory system existed, let alone what all the colors meant. A number of questions came to mind. Was America ever at the lowest level, Green Alert? What was the symbolism embodied in a system of terror that uses the colors of the rainbow as its visual representation? How could I take these visceral images and transfer them to an art form based not on color, but sound, and create an arc over a sustained period of time that didn’t feel overly repetitive?

TO begin, I chose a more abstract rhythmical and harmonic style and a wide variety of instrumentation. Within each movement I embedded a number of more literal musical “signposts.” For example, toward the end of Green Alert I used the steel drum to capture the sense of joy and freedom that a lack of threat might engender - the tempo ironically marked “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” In Blue Alert I included a number of musical fragments referencing New York. After I completed all five levels I decided to add an epilogue in the form of a new level: White Alert – white being the color of light that embodies all others and yet appears without any. Whatever political statement I’ve attempted to embody in this work can best be understood by reflecting on my setting of this last, and truly final, movement.
. . . Robert S. Cohen, October 25, 2007

Complete Set - Six Titles: $100.00

Titles Also Available Separately
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Green Alert for Percussion Ensemble

Sound Sample
Green Alert
Price: $28.00

This challenging ensemble is the first movement of
Robert S. Cohen's Homeland Security Suite for Percussion

[Six Players - Duration ca. 8' 33" ]  Bongos (2), Castanets, Claves, Congas (2), Cowbell Guiro, Maracas, Ratchet, Sand Blocks, Steel Drum, Tambourine, Temple Blocks, Triangle, Vibraslap, Woodblocks (2).

GREEN ALERT (Low Risk of Terrorist Attack) is the lowest level on the Homeland Security Advisory System, a level that I expect, has yet to be attained – as it implies a total lack of outside threat. Highlights include a mysterious contrapuntal section led by the steel drum representing the omnipresent menace lurking below the surface; an extended solo for temple blocks; and a section with the ironic tempo marking “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” characterized by an infectious calypso tune played on steel drum.

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Blue Alert for Percussion Ensemble

Sound Samples:
1   2
Blue Alert
Price: $25.00

This challenging trio is the second movement of Homeland Security Suite for Percussion

 [Three Players - Duration ca. 7' 03"]  Glockenspiel, Vibraphone, Marimba.

BLUE ALERT (General Risk of Terrorist Attack) explores the interplay between the three tuned mallet percussion instruments. Tension is created by a repeated one-note figure that is punctuated by percussive semi-tones. It is the constant build of these semi-tones that becomes the metaphor for heightened risk as well as a musical representation of the hustle and bustle of New York City itself. Throughout the work, we hear snippets of well-known songs that reference New York City including: “New York, New York” (both the On the Town and “Sinatra” versions); “On Broadway” and “Autumn in New York.”

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Yellow Alert, Score Samples

Sound Samples:
1   2   3   4

Yellow Alert
Price: $17.95

A tour-de-force for a solo percussionist. Scored for Snare Drum and small percussion set-up, Yellow Alert is a solo movement from Homeland Security Suite for Percussion.

YELLOW ALERT (Significant Risk of Terrorist Attack) ups the musical dread level significantly. A solo percussionist tour-de-force, it is a premonition of things to come. Sections contrast the ticking of a clock (or time-bomb) with military marches. The works embodies the sense that below the surface things are about to get out-of--control.

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Orange Alert for Solo Timpani

Video Sample

Digital Download Version

Orange Alert
Price: $14.95

Challenging solo for five timpani. Inspired by the recent events of 9/11 in New York City, Orange Alert was conceived as a tour-de-force for an advanced timpanist. It moves between moments of quiet foreboding, to outbursts of controlled chaos. The centerpiece of the work is a fugue that appears at rehearsal letter [F]. Orange Alert is a solo movement from Homeland Security Suite for Percussion.

ORANGE ALERT (High Risk of Terrorist Attack) is the most overtly programmatic of the set. Inspired specifically by the events of 9/11 it is structured around a series of explosive figures that not only represent the hijacked planes crashing into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and field in Shanksville, PA, but the shattering of our innocence and sense of security. A highlight of the work is a fugue and a sense of impending chaos that reaches its climax at the end of the piece with the exhortation for the player to “go crazy”.

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Red Alert for Percussion Ensemble - Seven or more Players

Sound Samples:
1    2    3

Red Alert
Price: $25.00

This ensemble is the challenging fifth movement of Homeland Security Suite for Percussion.

[Eight Players - Duration ca. 5' ] Air Raid Siren, Bass Drum (2), Chimes, Cowbell, Crash Cymbal, Glockenspiel, Marimba, Snare Drum, Suspended Cymbals (3), Tambourine, Tam-Tams (2), Temple Blocks, Timpani (5), Tom-Toms (4), Triangle, Vibraphone, Whip.

RED ALERT (Severe Risk of Terrorist Attack) goes beyond 9/11 to musically explore a dark vision of world-wide apocalyptic destruction. The piece builds in tension and texture and reaches a climax with the sound of an air raid siren hovering over descending overlapping glissandos punctuated by the sounds of explosions. The end is represented by a relentless repeated figure in the timpani and a militaristic figure in the snare drum that crescendos into a deafening wall of sound.

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White Alert from Homeland Security Suite for Percussion

White Alert
Price: $2.00

[Solo Percussionist - Duration ca. 1' ] $2.00 Cuica (Lion’s Roar).

THERE is actually no White Alert in the Homeland Security Alert System. White Alert is my own creation. In the simplest of terms it represents the moans of the planet earth or, perhaps, the echo of our souls after the final apocalypse. The color white represents both the blinding flash of a nuclear explosion and a blank sheet of paper on which everything has been erased.

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