Mark Ford | Polaris

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by Mark Ford

Beautiful music that captures the heart and soul of the marimba in contemporary classical solo and chamber settings.
Genre: Classical: Percussion Ensemble
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Polaris
Mark Ford
9:27 $0.99
2. Three Shells
Mark Ford
9:37 $0.99
3. Suite for Marimba: I. Prelude
Mark Ford
3:01 $0.99
4. Suite for Marimba: II. Courante
Mark Ford
3:37 $0.99
5. Five Songs for Voice and Marimba: 1. It Sifts from Leaden Sieves
Mark Ford & Sharon Munden
3:24 $0.99
6. Five Songs for Voice and Marimba: 2. A Murmur
Mark Ford & Sharon Munden
1:25 $0.99
7. Five Songs for Voice and Marimba: 3. The Sun Kept Setting
Mark Ford & Sharon Munden
2:34 $0.99
8. Five Songs for Voice and Marimba: 4. Two Butterflies
Mark Ford & Sharon Munden
1:59 $0.99
9. Five Songs for Voice and Marimba: 5. The Summer Lapsed Away
Mark Ford & Sharon Munden
2:49 $0.99
10. The Process of Invention
Mark Ford
14:10 $0.99
11. Stubernic
Mark Ford, Christopher Deane & John Hanks
7:27 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Mark Ford is the coordinator of percussion activities at The University of North Texas in Denton, Texas and a Past-President of the Percussive Arts Society. He is a marimba specialist and the director of one of the largest percussion programs in the country at UNT. Ford has premiered a variety of new works for solo marimba and regularly performs concerts and clinics around the country. As a composer Mark has written several popular works for solo marimba and percussion ensemble including Head Talk, Polaris, stealing a moment…, Motion Beyond, Ransom, Stubernic, Afta-Stuba!, The Steel Jungle, The Surface of Life and Standup Shadow. His compositions have been performed at universities and concert halls throughout the world. Mark is an artist/clinician for Dynasty/Bergerault, Innovative Percussion, Zildjian Cymbals and Evans Drum Heads.

POLARIS (1995) Mark Ford
Polaris is a one movement solo based on a rhythmic theme in 7/8 meter. Set in a modified rondo form, two separate ostinatos help unify the music while themes from the opening chorale and allegro sections are developed. As the North Star has served as a navigation reference for centuries, Polaris reflects the inner part of each of us that guides our decisions and shapes our identity. MF

THREE SHELLS (1992) Christopher Deane
Three Shells creates an abstract narrative between three basic motivic materials. An echo-like motive based on a tone row gives a sustaining quality to the marimba while the second element emerges as a traditional melody accompaniment figure. The third element is an interruptive motive based on the original row. Mark Ford performed the premier of Three Shells in 1993 and the work is dedicated to my sister Leslie, who’s pen and ink drawing provided me with the title. CD

I believe that the Suites for solo ‘cello by Johann Sebastian Bach are among the finest works of chamber music. Some of my more sublime musical experiences have been performances of transcriptions of these magnificent works. It was my hope in composing my Suite for Marimba for Mark Ford not only to follow Bach’s forms and use of tonality, but also my attempt to capture the inner joy that results in the performances of his music. MT

Five Songs, the winning composition in the 1994 Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest, is based on poems by Emily Dickinson. Although there is no single theme, each poem deals with life, death and nature, which are common subjects in Ms. Dickinson’s poetry. Movements II and IV are lighter and somewhat on the whimsical side while I, III and V are more thoughtful and reflective. The dynamics are often rather soft, reflecting the poems’ collective sense of tranquility. LG

1. It sifts from leaden sieves,
It powders all the wood,
It fills with alabaster wool
The wrinkles of the road.

It makes an even face
Of mountain and of plain, ––
Unbroken forehead from the east
Unto the east again.

It reaches to the fence,
It wraps it, rail by rail,
Till it is lost in fleeces;
It flings a crystal veil

On stump and stack and stem, ––
The summer's empty room,
Acres of seams where harvests were,
Recordless, but for them.

It ruffles wrists of posts,
As ankles of a queen, ––
Then stills its artisans like ghosts,
Denying they have been.

2. A MURMUR in the trees to note,
Not loud enough for wind;
A star not far enough to seek,
Nor near enough to find;

A long, long yellow on the lawn,
A hubbub as of feet;
Not audible, as ours to us,
But dapperer, more sweet;

A hurrying home of little men
To houses unperceived, ––
All this, and more, if I should tell,
Would never be believed.

Of robins in the trundle bed
How many I espy
Whose nightgowns could not hide the wings,
Although I heard them try!

But then I promised ne'er to tell;
How could I break my word?
So go your way and I'll go mine, ––
No fear you'll miss the road.

3. The sun kept setting, setting still;
No hue of afternoon
Upon the village I perceived, ––
From house to house 'twas noon.

The dusk kept dropping, dropping still;
No dew upon the grass,
But only on my forehead stopped,
And wandered in my face.

My feet kept drowsing, drowsing still,
My fingers were awake;
Yet why so little sound myself
Unto my seeming make?

How well I knew the light before!
I could not see it now.
'Tis dying, I am doing; but
I'm not afraid to know.

4. Two butterflies went out at noon
And waltzed above a stream,
Then stepped straight through the firmament
And rested on a beam;

And then together bore away
Upon a shining sea, ––
Though never yet, in any port,
Their coming mentioned be.

If spoken by the distant bird,
If met in ether sea
By frigate or by merchantman,
Report was not to me.

5. As imperceptibly as grief
The summer lapsed away, ––
Too imperceptible, at last,
To seem like perfidy.

A quietness distilled,
As twilight long begun,
Or Nature, spending with herself
Sequestered afternoon.

The dusk drew earlier in,
The morning foreign shone, ––
A courteous, yet harrowing grace,
As guest who would be gone.

And thus, without a wing,
Or service of a keel,
Our summer made her light escape
Into the beautiful.

THE PROCESS OF INVENTION (1995) Christopher Deane
The Process of Invention was written specifically for Mark Ford as a contrasting piece to Three Shells. The form is transparent in its use of repetition. Utilizing the concept of "one thing leads to another," each left hand bass line is connected by shared beginnings and endings in juxtaposition with contrapuntal lines in the right hand. Augmentation and diminution of one musical line, while keeping it's counter line constant, serves as a developmental device. CD

STUBERNIC (1988) Mark Ford
Stubernic (stew-bur-nick) is a marimba trio performed on one marimba, similar to the marimba performance practices in Latin America. The work is dedicated to Stefan and Mary K. Stuber who inspired me with stories of their humanitarian aid experiences in Nicaragua. Although Stubernic is not based on Latin American themes, I have attempted to re-create the energy and vitality of the region's music. At times in Stubernic, the frame of the instrument is used for percussive effects. Christopher Deane, who plays on the low end of the marimba, is required to play on the instrument's fiberboard end piece. John Hanks, performing on the high end, has to gently tap rhythms on the front metal resonators. Generally, the outside parts accompany the middle player (Ford) who performs a short cadenza. MF

Christopher Deane is Assistant Professor of percussion at the University of North Texas. Prior to his appointment with UNT, he was the principal timpanist of the Greensboro Symphony and a regular performer as both percussionist and timpanist with the North Carolina Symphony. He has performed with numerous orchestras including the Cincinnati Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra. A number of his percussion compositions such as Etude for a Quite Hall, Three Shells and Mourning Dove Sonnet are considered standard percussion repertoire.

Lynn Glassock is Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he teaches percussion and conducting. He has received several awards for his compositions including winner of the 1987 Festival of New American Music sponsored by California State University and three prizes from contests sponsored by the Percussive Arts Society. His compositions have been performed at numerous universities and conventions both in the USA and abroad.

John Hanks teaches percussion in the Duke University Music Department and is accompanist for the Duke Dance Program. Hanks is a founding member of the Philador Percussion Group and performs frequently with the Mallarme Chamber Players, The North Carolina Symphony, and the American Dance Festival. He is currently the drummer for the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra and the Gregg Gelb Swing Band.

Sharon Munden has performed with opera companies both in the United States and Europe, including the Spoleto Festival and La Scala in Italy. She has also appeared as soloist with many orchestras including the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston under the direction of Christopher Hogwood. Ms. Munden holds degrees from Mars Hill College and the University of Illinois and is currently a member of the Vocal Studies faculty at East Carolina University.

Mark Alan Taggart is Professor of Music at East Carolina University specializing in composition. A graduate of Cornell University and the University of Louisville, Taggart has written works for various chamber ensembles, orchestras and wind ensembles. His other compositions written for Mark Ford include Notturno for solo steel drum and brass ensemble, and Athletic Conveyances for multi-percussion and tuba (published by Sound Ideas, Colorado Springs, Colorado).

This compact disc was recorded in the spring of 1996 when Mark Ford was on the music faculty of East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Soloist Series marimba mallets by Innovative Percussion Incorporated were used on all selections. The recording took place in Baldwin Auditorium on the campus of Duke University in Durham, NC. No digital reverb enhancements were utilized on this recording

Thanks to: The East Carolina University School of Music; Erik Johnson and Innovative Percussion; David Kelley; Duke University; and my teachers: Harold Jones, Robert Schietroma, Leigh Howard Stevens, and Clyde Hughes; and the performers and composers: Christopher Deane, John Hanks, Peg Gearhart, Lynn Glassock, Sharon Munden, Dwight Robinett, and Mark Alan Taggart.

Recording Engineer: Dwight Robinett
Graphic Design: Peg Gearhart
Photography: ASAP Photography

All compositions published by Innovative Percussion Inc., 470 Metroplex Drive, Suite 214, Nashville, TN 37227, with the exception of Five Songs for Voice and Marimba, which is published by C. Alan Publications, P.O. Box 29323, Greensboro, NC 27429-9323.

This recording was made possible with funding from East Carolina University and the Northeastern Arts Council, which is partially funded by the North Carolina Arts Council.

Digital reissue of Polaris: November 22, 2015

Many thanks to my wife, Ewelina, and daughter, Emily, for their love and support ***88

Copyright 1996 Mark Ford
All Rights Reserved



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