Lo and Behold

Lo and Behold


Ralph Sorrentino percussionist

Release Date: April 19, 2021
Catalog #: RR8052
Format: Digital
21st Century

On LO & BEHOLD, percussionist Ralph Sorrentino brings percussion instruments to the fore to highlight their versatility in solo and chamber music settings. Five pieces, from a variety of composers, highlight the moods, emotions, timbres, and textures that can be expressed by the instruments of the percussion family. The revelatory album introduces innovative compositions into the percussion repertoire, and the performers’ technical prowess yields a collection of engaging and musically sensitive performances.

More than an entry into the annals of academic music, LO & BEHOLD stands well on its own as an active listening exploration of the percussion family. From the deep bellows of timpani to the crisp attack of the piccolo snare drum, the album strives to change the way we view the role of the percussion family.


Hear the full album on YouTube

"A listen that truly pushes the bounds of what one can accomplish in a percussive environment."

Take Effect

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Rhythm Strip Áskell Másson Ralph Sorrentino, piccolo snare drum; Chris Hanning, orchestral snare drum, field drum 8:20
02 5 Structures for 4 Timpani: No. 1, Flint David Corkhill Ralph Sorrentino, timpani 1:20
03 5 Structures for 4 Timpani: No. 2, Basalt David Corkhill Ralph Sorrentino, timpani 1:48
04 5 Structures for 4 Timpani: No. 3, Quartz David Corkhill Ralph Sorrentino, timpani 1:32
05 5 Structures for 4 Timpani: No. 4, Granite David Corkhill Ralph Sorrentino, timpani 2:30
06 5 Structures for 4 Timpani: No. 5, Slate David Corkhill Ralph Sorrentino, timpani 1:30
07 Portraits of a Waltz: I. Waltz Tempo Robert McCormick Ralph Sorrentino, snare drum 2:44
08 Portraits of a Waltz: II. Dirge - Very Fast - Bolero Tempo Robert McCormick Ralph Sorrentino, snare drum 3:36
09 Portraits of a Waltz: III. Waltz in One - Allegro. Coda Robert McCormick Ralph Sorrentino, snare drum 3:03
10 Duo Fantasia Maurice Wright Electrum Duo | Sophia Anastasia, flute; Ralph Sorrentino, multi-percussion 10:45
11 Lo & Behold: I. Lo Molly Joyce Ralph Sorrentino, concert bass drum 4:57
12 Lo & Behold: II. Behold Molly Joyce Ralph Sorrentino, concert bass drum 2:52

Recorded May 16, 2016, January 18, 2017, December 19, 2017, and March 13, 2019 at Swope Music Building, West Chester University in West Chester PA

Recording Session Producers
Ralph Sorrentino (all tracks)
Sophia Anastasia (track 10)

Mastering Jonathan Orose

Recording Session Engineer, Editing, Mixing
Brad Zabelski, Traveling Tracks

Additional Mixing Michael Laurello (tracks 11, 12)

This album was supported in part by West Chester University Faculty Development Funding.

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Chris Robinson

VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
General Manager of Audio & Sessions Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

Ralph Sorrentino


Ralph Sorrentino is the Director of Percussion Studies at West Chester University, where he teaches applied percussion and directs the West Chester University Percussion Ensemble. Sorrentino also serves as Principal Percussionist with the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra and Section Percussionist with the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra. Sorrentino’s work with Opera Philadelphia includes critically acclaimed performances at Philadelphia’s historic Academy of Music, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and Harlem’s world-famous Apollo Theater. Sorrentino was the principal percussionist for Opera Philadelphia’s April 2016 New York premiere performances of Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD, which marked the first time that opera was performed on the Apollo Theater stage.

Electrum Duo

Electrum Duo


Flutist Sophia Anastasia and percussionist Ralph Sorrentino are the founding members of the critically acclaimed Electrum Duo. The Duo’s November 2008 New York City debut recital at Bargemusic was favorably reviewed in the December 1, 2008 edition of The New York Times. Music critic Steve Smith commented that “the Electrum players were persuasive advocates: Ms. Anastasia played with brightness and vigor, while Mr. Sorrentino pattered across drums, cymbals and woodblocks with an impressive feeling of flow. The playing had an air of conversational spontaneity; each performer seemed to finish the other’s statements now and then... [Ms. Anastasia’s] vitality was neatly balanced by the graceful efficiency with which Mr. Sorrentino choreographed his manifold tasks throughout the evening. Perhaps it was an ability to play against type that made these players cohere so effectively.”

Electrum Duo has presented recitals in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Virginia. The Duo’s debut album, introductions, was released in October 2011 and is available on Apple Music and Amazon Music. introductions was reviewed in the July 2012 issue of Percussive Notes, where critic John Lane commented that “the performances are tight and excellently crafted: a high standard of a chamber music execution in which both musicians get to flex their skill... What [introductions] does best is showcase the talent of two extraordinarily talented performers who have cultivated a strong musical connection.” Electrum Duo’s second album, Thoughts, was released in November 2015 and is available on Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Spotify. Thoughts was reviewed in the May 2017 issue of Percussive Notes, where critic Justin Alexander commented that “there is plenty of music to showcase this duo’s versatility and excellence in performance. The recording quality is superb, and each player delivers thoughtful, musical, and sensitive performances throughout an array of repertoire.” In May 2011 the Duo premiered JLS, a ballet score by award-winning composer Robert Maggio, in collaboration with Roxey Ballet of Lambertville, NJ. In 2016 Electrum Duo commissioned noted composer Maurice Wright’s Duo Fantasia, and the Duo presented the world premiere performance in March 2017.

Sophia Anastasia

Sophia Anastasia


Hailed by The New York Times as playing with “vitality and gusto,” Sophia Anastasia is an accomplished flutist in the New York metropolitan area. She is a founding member of the critically acclaimed Electrum Duo, a flute and percussion chamber ensemble in which she regularly demonstrates her virtuosity in contemporary and classical works on flute, piccolo, and alto flute. Ms. Anastasia is also a staunch advocate of contemporary music and has commissioned many works for flute, including pieces by Gary Schocker, James Romig, Robert Maggio, and Maurice Wright. Her commission Xynóglyko by Gary Schocker was featured at the National Flute Convention and on WFMT radio, and can be found on her debut recording Musing.

Ms. Anastasia is one of the most in-demand flute instructors in the northern New Jersey area. She maintains a private flute studio and a flute choir in Montclair, NJ, she teaches in the Extension Division of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, and she is an adjunct flute instructor at the Kent Place School. Ms. Anastasia regularly conducts flute workshops in New Jersey’s public and private schools. Additionally, Ms. Anastasia is a certified K-12 music teacher as well as a trained early childhood “Music Together” specialist. Ms. Anastasia earned a Doctorate of Music from SUNY Stony Brook, a Master of Music and Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music, and a Bachelor of Arts from Montclair State University where she graduated cum laude, specializing in early childhood music development. Ms. Anastasia makes her home in Montclair with her cellist husband, three children, and 22 precocious chickens.

Chris Hanning Percussion

Chris Hanning


Chris Hanning serves as Dean of the Wells School of Music and Professor of Percussion at West Chester University. Hanning performs with the Peter Paulsen Quintet, the Bach Festival Orchestra of Bethlehem, and Philadelphia's premier contemporary music ensemble, Relâche. His performing experiences have taken him throughout Europe and the United States with engagements at prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and Royal Albert Hall in London. Hanning has recorded several albums with Relâche, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, David Liebman and the Manhattan Saxophone Quartet, and the Peter Paulsen Quintet. Hanning has performed on numerous NFL Films recordings, including several Emmy Award-winning projects. He is currently co-writing music with longtime NFL Films composer and producer Tom Hedden. Hanning released Island Grooves in 2006, an instructional drum set DVD that earned a 4.5 out of 5-star rating from Modern Drummer magazine. Hanning is an artist/clinician for Vic Firth, Pearl Drums, Adams Musical Instruments, Remo, Zildjian, and Panyard. He has presented clinics at universities, conventions, and percussion festivals throughout the United States and abroad. Hanning is a Past President of the Percussive Arts Society.


This album showcases the compositions of some of my favorite composers, including two pieces that I commissioned. Áskell Másson’s works have long been an important part of my repertoire, and I greatly admire his approach to writing for the snare drum. I have always had a particular affinity for Robert McCormick’s compositions and his contributions to the percussion community due to the fact that my mentor and colleague, Chris Hanning, studied with Robert at the University of South Florida. I am thrilled to present the premiere commercial recording of Duo Fantasia, a piece that Maurice Wright composed for Electrum Duo. I first worked with Maurice when I performed his multi-percussion composition, Set-Up Music, as part of my Master’s recital at Temple University. I later recorded Set-Up Music for my debut solo percussion album, and I was recently honored to participate in the commission and world premiere performance of Maurice’s Duo Fantasia. The title track of this album, Molly Joyce’s Lo and Behold, serves as the premiere commercial recording of this 2016 commission. I first collaborated with Molly in 2013 when I commissioned her to compose What Goes On Inside for the West Chester University Percussion Ensemble. I truly admire Molly’s compositional style, and it was my pleasure to commission her to compose Lo and Behold for this album.

I was privileged to work with two of my favorite collaborators, Chris Hanning and Sophia Anastasia, on this album. I began studying with Chris 25 years ago and we have now been colleagues for two decades. His contributions to the percussion community (particularly his leadership within the Percussive Arts Society and his tireless dedication to his students) are immense, and I am so honored that he agreed to perform on this album. Sophia and I founded Electrum Duo in 2007 and this chamber ensemble has since been one of my most rewarding musical projects. Sophia is a brilliant musician and I am delighted to share our premiere recording of Duo Fantasia.

— Ralph Sorrentino

Composer Áskell Másson states “Rhythm Strip is an electrocardiogram, showing waves generated at each heartbeat of a person and the piece is based on some of these wave patterns. Other semi-regular sounds from our environment are also taken into account and thus the piece can be said to convey an impression of the harmony of Man and his immediate surroundings.” Throughout Rhythm Strip, Player 1 plays a piccolo snare drum while Player 2 plays an orchestral snare drum and a field drum. Másson has contributed several significant works to the contemporary percussion repertoire, and his music is regularly performed by the world’s great orchestras and chamber ensembles.

— Ralph Sorrentino

The five movements of David Corkhill’s Five Structures for Four Timpani portray unique musical characters and styles. The movements are named for rocks and minerals that Corkhill associated with the musical characteristics of the piece. Corkhill has distinguished himself as a chamber and orchestral musician, conductor, and composer. Corkhill has held principal positions in the Philharmonia and the English Chamber Orchestra, he won a Grammy Award for his recording of Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, and he has collaborated extensively with Benjamin Britten.

— Ralph Sorrentino

Portraits of a Waltz is dedicated to composer Robert McCormick’s teacher, Anthony Cirone (former percussionist with the San Francisco Symphony). McCormick states “in terms of pitch, harmony, and melody, a work for solo snare drum can be quite limited. On the other hand, the snare drum offers room for broad exploration to the composer, in terms of dynamic contrasts, rhythmic execution, timbre, and color. The first waltz, at least, plays with the idea that a drum could suggest a melody. This is accomplished by moving one stick across the head while striking with the other, similar to a rim shot… The second waltz opens with a dirge-like finger roll and develops into a bolero rhythm. Unlike Ravel’s Bolero, with its extremely soft opening and moderate tempo, I start the rhythm loud and fast, gradually getting softer and slower, and slightly altering the original beat. The third waltz, written for timpani mallet and brush, suggests the stylistic influence of the French courante. This waltz shifts melody between mallet and brush with subtle use of hemiola.” Portraits of a Waltz won first place in the 2006 Keystone Percussion Composition Contest. McCormick taught percussion at the University of South Florida for 45 years, and he served as principal percussionist/assistant timpanist of the Florida Orchestra for 20 seasons.

— Ralph Sorrentino

Duo Fantasia was commissioned by Electrum Duo in 2016, and the Duo presented the world premiere performance at West Chester University in March 2017. Composer Maurice Wright states “Duo Fantasia is a free-form piece about finding balance among several contrasting ideas. Gentle, contemplative sections alternate with vigorous, rhythmic expositions. The percussion becomes melodic, the flute more rhythmic, as each performer imitates the character of the other’s instrument. Canonic imitation shapes much of the piece, especially the very slow and deliberate ending, which becomes a canon by inversion. What goes up, comes back down, and vice versa.”

Wright also drew inspiration from James Legge’s 1891 translation of the Tao Te Ching:

Difficulty and ease produce the idea of the other; length and shortness fashion the figure of the other; height and lowness arise from the contrast of the one with the other; musical notes and tones become harmonious through the relation of one with another; and being before and behind give the idea of one following another.

The multi-percussion setup utilizes vibraphone, five tuned gongs, three graduated tom toms, kick drum, suspended cymbal, and whip. Wright is the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Music Studies at Temple University, and his compositions have been performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Emerson String Quartet, and the American Brass Quintet.

— Ralph Sorrentino

Lo and Behold is a two-movement composition for solo concert bass drum. Composer Molly Joyce states “Lo and Behold explores what it means to be soft, loud, and seemingly everything in-between on one of my favorite instruments, the bass drum. As a composer I have always had an obsession with the bass drum due to its incredible depth and versatility. However I have often found that the bass drum typically serves a supporting and perhaps even background role in most music. Therefore by bringing it into the spotlight, I hope to feature the instrument in all of its glory, but also at the same time explore a very fundamental yet subjective feature of music – what is soft and what is loud? Therefore since the instrument sounds so radically different when played at extreme dynamic levels, the work is structured in a two-tiered fashion that demonstrates the severe contrast in sonic quality when played at such different dynamic levels. Lo and Behold was commissioned by West Chester University for Ralph Sorrentino, and written in the fall of 2016 in New Haven, CT.” Joyce is an adjunct faculty member at New York University, and her critically acclaimed compositions have been commissioned and performed by major symphony orchestras and prominent chamber ensembles.

— Ralph Sorrentino