Release Date: March 11, 2016
Catalog #: NV6033
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century


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.


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Artist Information

Matthew Fuerst


A recipient of two consecutive Palmer-Dixon Prizes for best composition presented by The Juilliard School, composer Mathew Fuerst (b. 1977) has also received third prize in the 2nd Annual Antonín Dvořák Composition Competition held in Prague CZ.

Heath Mathews


As an active composer in the Minneapolis area for the past several years, Heath Mathews has been called a "gifted young composer" who "writes with a clarity of musical voice." The compositional interests of Dr. Mathews include a wide range of musical genres and styles. Playing in rock and jazz groups in his youth, the composer draws influence equally from the vernacular music of contemporary culture, western art music, and world music.

Bill Pfaff


The music of Bill Pfaff is characterized by a strong sense of line, clear harmonic motion, and gestures that have been described as “profound and extravagant.” Known for his collaborative impulse, Bill has produced music for theater, dance and art installations. In this context, his language embraces electronic sources, traditional acoustic instruments, electric guitar and found sounds. As a performer on the soundplane, Bill explores composition that combines physical modeling synthesis, granular synthesis and acoustic instruments.

Sally Reid


Composer Sally Reid was born in East Liverpool, Ohio, in 1948. She holds the Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and is Professor of Music and Director of the School of Music at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. Reid was editor of the ILWC Journal (International League of Women Composers) from 1991-1995 and served as President of the International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM) in 1999-2000. She is also a member of the Society of Composers, Inc., the Southern Composers League and the Nashville Composers Association.

William Thomas McKinley


Born in Kensington PA, near Pittsburgh, William Thomas McKinley (December 9, 1938 - February 3, 2015) began playing piano at local jazz clubs when he was a boy, and, at the age of 12, undoubtedly became the youngest member of the American Federation of Musicians. He went on to perform, record, and compose for some of the great jazz artists such as Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Eddie Gomez, Gary Burton, Rufus Reed, Dave Holland, and Billy Hart, among others. On the classical side, McKinley has earned numerous awards from such institutions as the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Koussevitzky Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and eight NEA grants, along with commissions from The London Symphony, The Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, the Fromm Foundation, and the Naumburg Foundation. He has composed over 300 works.