As Above, So Below
As Above, So Below
As Above, So Below delves into the universe of Norse mythology. The three-movement work for percussion orchestra centers on Yggdrasil, the “Tree of Life,” with branches that extend to all nine of the worlds that make up the Norse mythological universe. The tree’s three roots connect three of these worlds—Asgard, Niflheim, and Jötenheim—which make up the three movements of the piece.
Commissioned by the Woodbury High School Percussion Ensemble (MN), Branden Steinmetz, director, As Above, So Below delves into the universe of Norse mythology. The three-movement work for percussion orchestra centers on Yggdrasil, the “Tree of Life” with branches that extend to all nine of the worlds that make up the Norse mythological universe. The tree’s three roots connect three of these worlds—Asgard, Niflheim, and Jötenheim—which make up the three movements of the piece.
The first movement, Asgard: The Home of the Gods, is the first to present the Yggdrasil theme, which runs through all three movements. This world is a land more fertile than any other and is located high in the sky. Filled with ascending figures throughout the ensemble, the music also celebrates the strength, beauty, and talent of the Norse gods who live there.
The second movement, Niflheim: The World of Ice & Mist, is situated in the lowest level of the universe. It is a dark, icy cold, and foggy realm where one will find the frozen river of Elivágar, the well of Hvergelmir (a bubbling, boiling spring), and the dragon Nídhöggr, who gnaws on Yggdrasil’s root. The realm of death, Helheim, is also here.
The third and final movement, Jötenheim: The Land of the Giants, features a vast, mighty wilderness with deep, dark forests and mountain peaks. Enemies of the gods, the giants have experienced plenty of battles here. It is also the home of Mímir’s well of wisdom. Driven by a relentless, low ostinato in the piano and marimba, this movement is filled with excitement from beginning to end.
Woodbury High School Percussion Ensemble
Branden Steinmetz, Director & Consortium Organizer
ExCuPeEn; Hudson High School Percussion Ensemble
Ryan McCarthy, Director
J.W. Mitchell Percussion Ensemble
Joel Quina, Band Director & John Lluvera, Percussion Director
Rosemount High School Percussion Ensemble
Bojan Hoover, Director
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Tammy Fisher, Director
Grant from the United Teachers of South Washington County (UTSWC)
Martha Fridgen, President
Grade Level: 4
Number of Players: 12 + Piano
Listen to Recordings
Listen to Recording
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Bells, 2 Triangles
Xylophome, Chimes, Crotales, 2 Triangles
Vibraphone 1, Medium Suspended Cymbal
Vibraphone 2, Medium Low Suspended Cymbal
Marimba 1 (4-octave), Low Drum
Marimba 2 (4.3-octave), Low Drum
Marimba 3 (4.3-octave), Low Drum
Marimba 4 (5-octave), Low Drum
Percussion 1 (4 Timpani, Claves, Sizzle Ride Cymbal)
Percussion 2 (Bongos, 2 Congas, Snare Drum, Large Rainstick, 2 Hardwood Planks)
Percussion 3 4 Concert Toms, Hi-Hat, Crash Cymbal, Chine Cymbal, Djembe, 2 Hardwood Planks)
Percussion 4 (Concert Bass Drum, Kick Bass Drum (laid flat) or Multi-Bass Drum, Tam-Tam, Log Drum (4 pitches)