William Winant Five American Percussion Pieces

William Winant Five American Percussion Pieces
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This is a wonderful collection of percussion solos by a master musician. William Winant's résumé careens from Sonic Youth to Roscoe Mitchell to Oingo Boingo to John Zorn to Danny Elfman (Batman Returns) to Werner Herzog to the composers featured here — and that's a small sample. The man has done it all, complete with fashion tendencies, from Mohawks to deathcore T-shirts. This release covers a wide range of compositions and moods. "Solo to Anthony Cirone," by Lou Harrison, explores a succinct song form on marimba, while the nine-minute cymbal swell and fade of James Tenney's "Having Never Written a Note for Percussion" is an exercise in ambient shimmer executed in a technically seamless example of focus and restraint. The expected minimalist excursion is featured in an excerpt of Alvin Curran's "Bang Zoom," but is slyly offset by the off-kilter, multi-track glockenspiel tones of Michael Byron's "Trackings." The remaining number, "Song of Quetzalcoatl," by Harrison, completes the menu with a solid compositional sweep encompassing all the variants stated above and more. This release serves as an invaluable introduction to the possibilities of percussion composition for the curious and also a brilliantly performed series of works by great composers for the experienced listener. (Poon Village)