- 2 Toms
- 3 Wood Blocks
- 5 Temple Blocks
- Snare Drum
- 3 Brake Drums (or 3 metal plates)
- Chinese Hand Opera Gong
with support from
According to Hawaiian legend, long before the settlement of the Hawaiian Islands from Polynesia, the Menehune roamed the land. Hidden deep in the forest and valleys, these "little people" were said to measure no taller than a few inches from the ground. They were masters of mischief and trickery, but their skill and ingenuity in construction were marks of master craftsmen. Menehune built temples, fishponds, and other structures of agricultural design. Often working under nightfall, they concealed their presence from humans. Menehune Games was composed and commissioned by Raiden Bernal with support from Oberlin Conservatory as part of Bernal's mele no ka' ōpio (music for the young) program.
Scored for solo multi-percussion, the work is illustrative of the mischievous character of the Menehune and their architectural ingenuity. In three sections, the first begins with a covert prelude of fluctuating woodblock tremolos, a choreography of evasion. The second explores a structural building block of an alternating 3/4 and 3/8 pattern to which other musical figures fill out rhythmic spaces to make more extensive constructions. Lastly, the final section, more aggressive, brings the work full circle with a return to the tremolo figurations.