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American Music for Percussion, Vol. 1 ()

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This album has five pieces written solely for percussion ensembles and features a tour of composers and their ideas on how to use tone color, rhythm, and even silence to create melodies based mostly in percussion. Joan Tower's DNA begins with silence, progresses to rhythms on bells and the symbol, and then adds wood blocks for timbre. The wood blocks present what could almost be called a theme, with a pentatonic-sounding pattern. Tower certainly has a good sense of timbre in her orchestration for percussion, perhaps the result of her having lived in South America as a child. This is a visceral piece, one in which the listener can truly feel the rhythms. Felicia Sandler's Pulling Radishes is less accessible, though it is cleverly composed around patterns involving the number 45. Schuller's Grand Concerto is fairly inaccessible, for it has very little apparent structure, and little use of timbre, save some moments here and there, such as in its joyously cacophonous cascade ending with its jazz echoes.... Hide synopsis

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