Friday, January 7, 2011

Nathaniel Stookey's Junkestra

Cage-Harrison's "Double Music" for percussion ensemble; the music of Harry Partch; Cage's Prepared Piano Sonatas and Interludes; Lou Harrison's home-made gamelan music; the sound-sculpture music of Lasry-Baschet. . . there are some precursors to Nathaniel Stookey's Junkestra (Innova 773). However that just gives you the idea that new percussion sounds are not as new as one might think. It does not take away from the sonorously exciting appeal of Stookey's music.

Junkestra (2007) is a three-movement suite of sorts. A "Dance Mix" concludes the CD. All told, you get 15 minutes of music. Fifteen minutes of music well worth hearing, though.

There are seven percussionists involved, plus some beautiful playing from David Weiss on the musical saw. The instruments involved give out a sound halfway between a gamelan orchestra and some of the impromptu sounds I would get in my youth when I dragged my mother's pots and pans out of the kitchen and went to work.

The sound is exotic, yet familiar in that way. And the music is very well crafted and very well performed. It's modern music that is actually fun! I love it. And it's an important addition to the percussion repertory. A great listen!

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