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Coalescence Percussion Duo | Alternations

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Bill Ryan C-Curtis Smith Coalescence Percussion Joel Harrison Michael Daugherty

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by Coalescence Percussion Duo

The Coalescence Percussion Duo is comprised of musicians Judy Moonert and Gregrey Secor, who have played together for over fifteen years in a variety of musical settings, ranging from the symphony hall to contemporary mixed instrument and percussion chamber ensembles.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Red Tree Yellow Sky
6:25 album only
2. Why Has the Hunter Not Returned?
6:46 album only
3. Alternations (Non Altar Nations)
8:41 album only
4. More African Laughter: I. Quietly Happy
3:05 album only
5. More African Laughter: II. Jauntily, With Congenial Good Spirits
5:43 album only
6. Walk the Walk
7:23 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Red Tree Yellow Sky: Bill Ryan (2009)
Red Tree, Yellow Sky was commissioned by Opus 21 for the Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Times exhibition at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. It was composed in response to the 1952 O’Keeffe painting of the same name. Two things immediately drew me to this work--first, its brightness, which is made of various shades of only two colors. This aligned very closely to my own general approach to music composition, creating works based on a very limited amount of material. Secondly, while at first glance I saw an imposing piece of wood in the foreground, the longer I studied this painting the more I saw the wood as an odd being doing a strange kind of dance. What O’Keeffe painted was brilliant--to bring life and depth to what was probably a very stark and static landscape. In the music I tried to capture that--by creating a bright, shimmering setting in which this figure dances, and to give the impression that this odd dance continues, as the landscape does, even after the piece concludes.
-Bill Ryan

Why Has The Hunter Not Returned?: Joel Harrison (2008)
The seed of this piece came from a cello solo I was working on. As I probed further I realized I was working with rhythmic ideas that couldn't be conveyed by a string instrument, so I broadened my concept and began to work with two marimbas. There are two fundamental parts to the piece: the first is a propulsive 11 beat cycle that is shared back and forth between the two players in phrases of varying length. The other is an African-based 12 beat cycle that is more circular and grooving in a conventional sense. The overall form is roughly ABAB. The harmony is largely pentatonic, even bluesy, though they’re some chromatic flights. The title is taken from a traditional W. African song of the Ewe people, a haunting aeolian melody I learned when studying that music. The words speak of a villager who goes out to hunt for food and does not return. I have tried to summon the feeling of the song and its theme, its drama and excitement.
-Joel Harrison

Alternations (non altar nations): Christopher Deane (2014)
Alternations (non altar nations) was commissioned by the Coalescence Percussion Duo. The work was completed in July, 2014. The primary one-word title “Alternations” provides a transparent insight into the nature and structure of the music. Most, if not all, aspects of the composition are guided by the concept of alternating elements including those of one sound or timbre to another, of contrasting resonances, of one player to another, of one phrase to another, the order of many events, etc. There is a micro/macro structural relationship based on the number 35 that provides a precise framework for each phrase length (thirty-five beats) and for the length of the entire composition (thirty-five phrases). The premise of the commission was to write an eight to ten minutes of chamber music for two performers who both play on the same 4 1/3 octave marimba along with selected percussion instruments. Two identical, though differently pitched, sets of instruments are employed so that one player has an alternate set of similar sounds to the other. An obvious compositional choice might have been to make the musical role of the marimba dominant over the presence of other percussion instruments however this composition features the marimba simply as an equal sound source to the other instruments. Some of the phrase constructs are palindromic. The aesthetic of this music can perhaps be judged as having a nostalgic link to an earlier era of percussion music. The title is, in an imprecise way, a kind of alternation that features two conceptual homonyms separated by the palindromic word “non” reflecting the composer’s poetic preference of one of these words to the concepts and complications that can often exist as a result of the other.
-Christopher Deane

More African Laughter: C Curtis-Smith (2008)
I Quietly Happy
II Jauntily, with Congenial Good Spirits

More African Laughter was commissioned by the Coalescence Percussion Duo and premiered at the 2008 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Austin, Texas. The work reflects C. Curtis-Smith’s passion for sub-Saharan African music, evident in his previous works for orchestra and piano trio. When describing the melodies of his African influenced works, C. Curtis-Smith remarked: “While the melody is my own, this melody is in essence a sub-Saharan African melody (i.e.: diatonic, with large skips alternating with repeated notes, an overall descending shape, and a certain joyousness typical of much Black African music).” This joyousness is reflected in the description of the second movement, “Jauntily, with Congenial Good Spirits”. This work also features a sense of rhythmic displacement that can be described as a chase or follow the leader in which the marimba and vibraphone are playing the same material displaced by one or two beats. In regard to the rhythmic structure used in his African influenced compositions, C. Curtis-Smith notes the following: “The intricate cross-rhythms and polyrhythms are modeled on Ashanti Kete drumming from Ghana. In the Kete ensemble there is seldom a common downbeat; each player begins counting “one” on a different beat or subdivision of the beat.” This is reflected in the imitation of material throughout the work, always rhythmically displaced, so there is not a sense of a common downbeat. When discussing his music, C. Curtis-Smith mentions: “I have gone back to the genuine roots of Black African music as found in traditional African Societies, untouched by New World jazz, blues, and Afro-American pop music in general”. Coalescence Percussion Duo would like to dedicate this recording in memory of Curtis Curtis-Smith who passed away in October 2014.
-Coalescence Percussion Duo

Walk The Walk: Michael Daugherty (2005)
Andrew Bishop: Baritone Saxophone

Walk the Walk for baritone sax and percussion was commissioned and premiered by Opus 21 at the Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, New York on May 3, 2005. The work was conceived by Opus 21 for a concert honoring pianist Joe Hunter (1927-2007) and the Funk Brothers, a group of Detroit studio musicians who played on all of the historic Motown recordings from 1959 until the company moved to Los Angeles in 1972. Using a deconstructed fragment from the Temptations' My Girl as a compositional idée fixe, I take the listener through a world of virtuosic Detroit blues, rock, jazz and Latin Motown musical grooves.
-Michael Daugherty



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