New Jersey Percussion Ensemble at 50, Volume 1

New Jersey Percussion Ensemble at 50, Volume 1
Composers Concordance Records: COMCON0045


Art by Mark Kostabi

Liner Notes on NAXOS:
New Jersey Percussion Ensemble at 50, Volume 1, is a collection of 8 concertos for percussion sextet with soloist composed by Peter Jarvis and Payton MacDonald. The soloists include: John Clark – horn, John Ferrari – vibraphone, Payton MacDonald – vibraphone, William Schimmel – accordion and Glen Velez – frame drums. The group is conducted by: John Ferrari, Peter Jarvis and Payton MacDonald. This recording was released in celebration of the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble’s 50th year of music making.

New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, Director – Peter Jarvis
Mike Aberback, Paul Carroll, Josh DeWald, April McCloskey, Sean Dello Monaco, John Ferrari, Jesse Gerbasi, Peter Jarvis, Payton MacDonald, Travis J. Salim, Gary Van Dyke, Glen Velez

  • Concerto for Frame Drums and Percussion Sextet, Opus 41 (2015) – Peter Jarvis (4:39)
    • Glen Velez – Frame Drums, Peter Jarvis – Conductor
  • Marwa (2014) – Payton MacDonald (10:40)
    • Payton MacDonald – Vibraphone, Peter Jarvis – Conductor
  • Monolithics (2016) – Payton MacDonald (6:51)
    • John Clark – Horn, Peter Jarvis – Horn
  • Concerto for Vibraphone and Percussion Sextet, Opus 20 (2011-12) – Peter Jarvis (5:19)
    • John Ferrari – Vibraphone, Peter Jarvis – Conductor
  • Concerto for Accordion and Percussion Sextet, Opus 49 (2016) – Peter Jarvis (5:21)
    • William Schimmel – Accordion, Peter Jarvis – Conductor
  • Glen – (2016) Payton MacDonald (9:21)
    • Glen Velez – Frame Drums, Payton MacDonald – Conductor
  • 70 – (2016) Payton MacDonald (5:28)
    • William Schimmel – Accordion, Payton MacDonald – Conductor
  • Concerto for Horn and Percussion Sextet, Opus 54 (2016) – Peter Jarvis (6:04)
    • John Clark – Horn, John Ferrari – Conductor

About the music:

Concerto for Frame Drums and Percussion Sextet: Peter Jarvis
Concerto for Frame Drums and Percussion Sextet is happily dedicated to Glen Velez.  Approximately 5 minutes in length. I began the piece during December of 2015 and completed it on January 7, 2016.
This is my second concerto for percussion sextet with a percussion soloist. The first, from 2011, is with vibraphone solo composed for John Ferrari and this, my second is for frame drums and was composed for Glen Velez. Both pieces were composed with the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, which silently shares the dedication. – Peter Jarvis

Marwa: Payton MacDonald
I composed Marwa for my friend and colleague Peter Jarvis.  I’ve always loved Peter’s lyrical approach to the vibraphone and I sought to incorporate his melodic flow and gestures into the basic grammar of the work.  The title is taken from the North Indian Hindustani raga Marwa, which has the curious scale (in Western notation) of C, Db, E, F#, Ab, B, typically over a C drone.  The lack of a fifth destabilizes the mode, giving it a dissonant and unsettled feeling.  However, several minor and major chords are can be derived from the mode and I used those to counterbalance the unstable melodic gestures.  At the most fundamental levels the work is structured according to the conventions of Hindustani Dhrupad, an art form I’ve been studying intensely for many years, but the tone and dramatic impulse of the work are thoroughly Western. – Payton MacDonald

Monolithics: Payton MacDonald
I composed Monolithics for French hornist John Clark and the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble. John’s considerable virtuosity and stylistic flexibility inspired me to create a piece that is at times specific in its notation and other times leaves him room to improvise. The title refers to the blocks of sound in the ensemble. I imagined the horn soloist wandering among a field of large, granite monoliths, mysterious in their origin and purpose. – Payton MacDonald

Concerto for Vibraphone and Percussion Sextet: Peter Jarvis
Concerto for Vibraphone and Percussion Sextet is dedicated to Ray DesRoches and the solo vibraphone part was written specifically for John Ferrari. Just over 5 minutes in length, the piece was composed, with many interruptions, between July of 2011 and July of 2012.
For many years I have been interested in the proliferation of literature for the vibraphone.  This, my first percussion ensemble piece reflects that interest.  One of my considerations while composing the piece was to provide soloists with a piece that could be used as touring repertoire.  It is my hope that various university ensembles will prepare the piece and invite a soloist to join them as guest artist.  This idea was inspired by the collaboration of Payton MacDonald and Robert Morris, on Stream Runner by Robert Morris. – Peter Jarvis

Concerto for Accordion and Percussion Sextet: Peter Jarvis
Concerto for Accordion and Percussion Sextet was completed on June 16, 2016 and is happily dedicated to William Schimmel.  This is my third concerto for percussion sextet and soloist. The first, from 2011, is with vibraphone solo composed for John Ferrari, the second from 2016, is with frame drums solo composed for Glen Velez and this; my third is with accordion and was composed for William Schimmel. All three pieces were composed with the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble in mind, which silently shares the dedication. – Peter Jarvis

Glen: Payton MacDonald
I composed Glen for Glen Velez and the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble. I wanted to showcase Glen Velez’s extraordinary improvisation skills so I left plenty of space for him to do that, but I also included notated material so that he could interact with the fabulous musicians in NJPE. As with most of my music, the pitch material is modal in nature, and developmental processes are incremental, a reflection of my life-long involvement with North Indian Hindustani classical music. – Payton MacDonald

70: Payton Macdonald
I composed 70 for Bill Schimmel and the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble in honor of Bill’s seventieth birthday.  I used the number 7 in various ways to generate and develop musical material, in honor of Bill’s seven extraordinary decades. – Payton MacDonald

Concerto for Horn and Percussion Sextet: Peter Jarvis
Concerto for Horn and Percussion Sextet was completed on August 5, 2016 and is dedicated to the phenomenal horn player and all-round musician/composer John Clark.  This is my forth concerto for percussion sextet and soloist. The first, from 2011, is with vibraphone solo composed for John Ferrari, the second from 2016, is with frame drums solo composed for Glen Velez, the third from 2016, is with accordion solo composed for William Schimmel and this; my forth is with horn and was composed for John Clark. All four pieces were composed with the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble in mind. – Peter Jarvis

Producer: Peter Jarvis
Engineer: David Kerzner
Mixer: David Kerzner
Mastering Engineer: David Kerzner

All of the music on this CD was recorded at William Paterson University.