PARKWAY (2016) Joe Locke
Joe Locke is widely considered to be one of the major voices of the vibraphone. He has performed and recorded with a diverse range of notable musicians, including Grover Washington Jr., Kenny Barron, Eddie Henderson, Cecil Taylor, Dianne Reeves, Ron Carter, The Beastie Boys, the Münster Symphony Orchestra, and Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra (NE).
Written for Escape Ten, Parkway is a programmatic piece portraying the sonic representation of a driving excursion on the Garden State Parkway near Joe’s home in New Jersey. Coincidentally, Annie and Andrea first met while in school at Rutgers, having many NJ road trips together under their belt. The gongs and crotales capture the roundtrip drive from Joe’s home; as the piece progresses it becomes both lovely and manic. Can you tell which part of the journey has a toll booth? – Escape Ten
JETTATURA for Percussion Duo (2016) John Psathas / arr. Omar Carmenates
John Psathas is a New Zealand freelance composer and teacher who, at a relatively early stage in his career, established an international profile and currently receives regular commissions from organizations both in New Zealand and overseas. Originally composed for piano in 1999, this moto perpetuo work requires heavy and impassioned fingering on piano, along with defiance and aggression. As part of a collection, Omar Carmenates arranged this and several of Psathas’ piano works for chamber percussion ensembles of various combinations. Jettatura for percussion duo orchestrates complex interlocking lines and counterpoint between two marimbas, while blending in vibraphone voices to capture its pianistic origins. The intense character of the piece is further realized with Escape Ten’s subtle addition of percussion. – Escape Ten
2300 DEGREES (2015) Ivan Trevino
2300 Degrees is the temperature at which glass gets interesting. That’s a popular saying in the glass blowing community and something that has stuck with me since participating in a music / glassblowing event at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning NY. My band Break of Reality accompanied Lino Tagliapietra while he blew glass. Lino is an amazing glass blower and is considered by many to be the best glass blower in the world. It was one of the most memorable musical things I’ve done.
In order to recreate the feelings I felt while watching Lino work, I decided to create a piece with a stream of unrelenting notes, while at times having each player play in time signatures different from the other. My reason for doing this is to create tension, similar to how I felt watching Lino work. To add an additional layer of tension and difficulty, there are occasional crotale notes simultaneously played with the marimba parts. As you can imagine, this is a very challenging piece to play, and the most difficult duo I’ve written. 2300 Degrees was commissioned by Annie Stevens and Andrea Venet. – Ivan Trevino
FAST LANE (2016) Aurél Holló
Aurél Holló is most notable for his wide breadth of performances with the internationally acclaimed Hungarian percussion ensemble Amadinda, an ensemble hailed by The Guardian as “among the most dazzling percussionists you might hear this side of Bali.” Holló helped found the ensemble in 1984 in Budapest and has actively contributed as a composer and performer throughout their years of success. Among Holló’s many musical influences include the great avant garde Hungarian composer zGyörgy Ligeti, as well as Balinese Gamelan. These influences in timbre and rhythm are especially present in Fast Lane. Fast Lane was commissioned by Escape Ten in 2016 with funding provided by the Bruce Carver Multicultural Arts Grant awarded by the School of Performing Arts at Virginia Tech. – Annie Stevens
RADIOHEAD MEDLEY (2011/2017) Radiohead / arr. Andrea Venet
Radiohead’s music, especially their acoustic works, speak to a percussionist’s ear through beautiful exploitation of timbre and harmony, while also employing deceivingly complex rhythmic schemes. When I initially became acquainted with the tunes in this medley (Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, Pyramid Song, and 15-Step), I immediately imagined an alternate realization with distinct and unique metallic percussion sounds such as pitched gongs, cowbells, steel pans, and a toy piano, in addition to marimba and vibraphone. I actually wrote the first version for large percussion ensemble, including all of these elements before creating a custom version for Escape Ten. In addition, my synesthesia results in association with colors, pitch, and harmony, amplifying the deep impact this music has on me from two of my favorite albums, In Rainbows and Amnesiac. – Andrea Venet
SAND DUNES (2015) Kelly Rossum
Sand Dunes, for marimba duo, was commissioned by Escape Ten in 2015. The composition originated as an exploration of groove, evoking the rolling vistas of huge sand dunes, along with the detailed examination of each footprint. The grand illusion of simplicity allows the audience to enjoy the overall atmosphere of the piece while at the same time offering the opportunity to study the complexity of each musician’s performance. This unique arrangement for two marimbas incorporates additional percussion to amplify the groove and to provide a foil for the cross-metered rhythms found embedded within the ostinato parts. As each musician walks through the musical dunes, the aural scene changes ever so slightly; proving the journey is actually the destination. – Kelly Rossum
CLEAR MIDNIGHT (2016) Michael Burritt
As one of the world’s leading percussion solo artists, Michael Burritt is an American composer and head of the department as Professor of Percussion at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester NY. Clear Midnight is a continuous two-movement work connected by a drum interlude, and is inspired by the poem of the same name by Walt Whitman (1819-1892). The piece exploits varied timbres and sonorities in a unique and organic manner by utilizing the human voice, drums, and percussive sounds simultaneously. Performers are required to sing while playing their instruments, eliciting an immediate, visceral experience. Haunting juxtapositions of drum interjections and singing with the marimba texture create a unique and powerful presentation. – Andrea Venet
This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the
themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death and the stars.
— A Clear Midnight by Walt Whitman
MY FAVORITE THINGS (1959) Rodgers/Hammerstein II / arr. Andrea Venet (2015)
Arranged by Andrea Venet, this popular show tune by Rodgers/Hammerstein II first appeared in the musical “The Sound of Music” in 1959. Ironically, the happy lyrics were originally meant to be sung by a woman in the musical in order to reconcile her fear of the unknown. This tune has since become a jazz standard and Christmas song because of its wintery depictions. In this unique take, the traditional meter is changed to have a groovy feel in 5, and most importantly utilizes some of Escape Ten’s favorite things, which include pitched metal bells and almglocken. – Andrea Venet
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Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.
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