Modern Chamber Works With Percussion
Mathew Fuerst composer
Heath Mathews composer
Bill Pfaff composer
Sally Reid composer
William Thomas Mckinley composer
Navona Records presents RIPPLES, a collection of contemporary works from composers Mathew Fuerst, Heath Mathews, Bill Pfaff, Sally Reid, and William Thomas McKinley, that showcase percussion alongside either a pianist, saxophonist, or chamber ensemble, exploring the textures and tonal colors possible within each instrument combination.
The structure of Mathew Fuerst’s Broken Cycles for piano and percussion is defined by instrumental color. The composer experiments with the chaconne form, often presenting sections inspired by the proportions of fractal images. Heath Mathews’ Digressions for soprano saxophone, alto saxophone and marimba is a study of texture and rhythmic diversity, using passages where the two voices match each other’s articulation, either dry and percussive or legato and lyrical. Lichen by Bill Pfaff for piano and percussion delivers natural imagery in a lively form with sudden shifts in color and texture, unified by the repetition of pitches and the return of motivic material that becomes infused with new meaning. Sally Reid’s Three Trifles for alto saxophone and percussion is a lighthearted three-movement work with a fast-slow-fast arrangement, containing melodic material that tends to be less abstract than the other works on the album. The late William Thomas McKinley’s A Different Drummer was commissioned by the conductor Robert Black and the New York New Music Ensemble in 1989 as a concerto for virtuoso percussionist Daniel Druckman. The single-movement work consists of kaleidoscopically changing instrumental combinations, unfolding in a chain of ever-expanding, developing, overlapping, and recapitulating musical events unified by the percussionist.