Really fine job on this. Percussion ensembles generally seem to lean either toward overly bangy chopfests or overly textural music and you've successfully landed right in the middle. I don't know crap about Samba but I really enjoyed your deconstruction of the melodic and rhythmic elements of the style (a timpani and clave duet was a perfect idea to open the piece by the way). That metric modulation about half way through was a nice suprise as well. The flow is very fresh, vibrant, and immediate and I suppose the greatest compliment I could pay is that I'd have really enjoyed playing this piece in college, as would almost every other student at my university.
My only gripe about the piece is it feels like it could hold much more material. I get really finicky when people critique the form of my own music so take this with a grain of salt. I just feel that the return of the A section isn't nearly as satisfying as it could have been had there been a longer departure from it in the middle of the piece. On that note you also don't stick with anything for longer than a couple of phrases at most. This keeps each moment fresh, but has the unfortunately effect of also speeding through a very inventive piece. I guess that's a long-winded plea for more.
Thanks so much for your review. I'm glad you liked it and please don't think twice about criticizing it. I'm sure I could rework and lengthen some of those sections. Perhaps if I intended this for a performance I would have been more careful about that. As it is, I tried to initiate a lot of changes in a short duration. I'm forgetting about the real world! Thanks again. I can tell you gave it a thorough listening.
If what Jaibalu says is right, then my characterization of this piece (the title) is way off! Perhaps I should title it "Pseudo Samba-Like Variations in Bad Faith"--but then the title becomes more interesting than the piece.
Thanks Jaibalu. I am probably confusing african rhythms with brazilian rhythms. Once of these days I will sort this out.