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Dark Wood

Critical Acclaim... 

"...all the performances are very 

musical and quite enjoyable."

"the ensembles seamlessly traverse 

the musical landscape from contemporary classical music to 

tango and back again."

Percussive Notes – May 2010

Dark Wood

Septet by Daniel Levitan as recorded by the YSU Percussion Ensemble on Dark Wood.

*Dark Wood (2003)- Dr. David Morgan – marimba quartet 

*Reactions for Wind Ensemble and Drumset (2003) -Dr. David Morgan, Dr. Glenn Schaft - drumset soloist & YSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble 

*Groovelocity (2003) - Dr. Till Meyn - marimba concerto - Ron Coulter - soloist 

*Fox Grove (2004) - Jeffrey Matter - keyboard ensemble

Tango Suite (1996) – trans. Glenn Schaft – marimba quartet, Enrique Fancini  I. La vi llegar, II. Dafetin de Buenos Aires – Mariano Mores, III. Cristal – Marioano Mores 

Bluebird Samba (1994) Ted Rounds – marimba quartet  

Septet (1981) - Daniel Levitan


Dark Wood for Four Marimbas (2003) by Dr. Dave Morgan is a fusion of the harmonic vocabulary of pianist Bill Evans and the counterpoint and formal ideas of Johannes Brahms with the melodies and rhythms of the Argentinian tango. It is accessible music that nonetheless places musical and technical demands on the players.  was commissioned by Glenn Schaft for the Youngstown Percussion Collective. Musicians-Nathan Douds, Craig Hill, Justin Watt, Robert Flamino. Recorded 5/23/05 at YSU by Mike Telanca.

Septet (1981) Daniel Levitan - Septet is a solo setting for bongos and timbales, with accompaniment provided by roto-tom, triangle, cymbals, cowbells, and cabasa. The opening 16-bar theme recurs, in various orchestrations, throughout the piece, setting-off developmental sections; it returns in its original form just before the brief coda. Musicians-Tim Hampton, Tetsuya Takeno, Kyle Farrell, Mike Anderson, Chris Marchion, Zac Taylor, Dan Danch. Recorded by YSU-PE 4/23-05 at YSU by Mike Telanca. Septet is available at  His site includes an excerpt of the piece from our Dark Wood disc.

Tangos - Werner Thomas-Mifune’s arrangements are published for string quartet and are transcribed here for marimba quartet. The Tango is an Argentine urban song/dance form that remained popular throughout the 20th century but which originated in the poor neighborhoods of Buenos Aires in the late 19th century. The dance, for couples in a tight embrace, is characterized by sensual movement, the music is frequently in a minor mode, and includes dramatic rhythmic and dynamic contracts. Musicians- Craig Hill, Justin Watt, Elizabeth Bartley, Robert Flamino. Recorded 5/23/05 at YSU by Mike Telanca.

Groovelocity was composed for YPC; my collaboration with the trio helped to shape the piece. The title, a combination of two dynamic words, embodies the spirit of the Till Meyn (2003) The rhythm and melody of the opening section contribute to a jazz feel. The mysterious opening builds to a louder, short transition, which then leads to a section of perpetual motion for the marimba. At the center of the composition is an abstract, slow downshift from the preceding turmoil. A luminescent chordal texture gives way to a return of the opening material, which is developed in various ways. A fast section in compound meter then gathers intensity through a thickening rhythmic texture and rising marimba line. The energy increases through a section of syncopations and fast rhythms, and the work closes with pounding vibraphone, marimba, and tom toms in a driving finish. Notes by Till Meyn. Dr. Meyn is Associate Professor of Theory and Composition at Youngstown State University. Musicians-Ron Coulter-marimba soloist, Nathan Douds & Craig Hill-percussion. Recorded 5/23/05 at YSU by Mike Telanca.

Bluebird Samba (1994) by Ted Rounds is a tune in Eb, later in F, and in Eb again at the end. The other two themes were just separate material I was working on during the same time. The minimalist transitions were just convenient diversions to get to the different key centers for the tune. I thought the thing sounded like a samba, so that had to be part of the title somehow. On the day I quit writing the piece (you have to actually quit writing) Tyler was building a bluebird house and after she put one up, she declared that the next day there would be bluebirds living there. Sure enough, the next day there they were. Tyler was the one who actually said I should call it Bluebird Samba. It has some cool chords and some nice jagged lines. Parts of the main theme are presented over different bass lines with alternate key centers, just to see how they worked. There is a short madness that was inspired by Frank Zappa (groups of fives followed by sextuplets in groups of four. As with all my writing, I have my intentions but I'm always surprised by what comes out. That's partly because I usually compose by means of improvisation. I'll compose an accompaniment sequence that the computer loops while I improvise on a percussion controller that feeds into the same computer. If I like it, it stays. If I don't, it goes into electronic storage for another day. Notes by Ted Rounds. Ted is Director of Percussion Studies at Kent State University. Musicians – Rob Ferguson, Nathan Douds, Ron Coulter, & Justin Watt. Recorded 5/23/05 at YSU by Mike Telanca.

Fox Grove (2004) Jeffrey Alan Matter Jeffrey Matter is a highly regarded percussionist, composer, adjudicator, and educator.  He has won several awards including the Mark H. Hindsley Award, the Mary Joe Brown Award, as well as the Edgard Varese Percussion Award in 2005. As an educator, Matter has taught across the United States, including the Bands of America Summer Symposium and Illinois Summer Youth Music programs. Matter has also taught the award winning University High School Pioneers Drumline. As a composer, Matter has composed works for University High School, Youngstown State University and is currently working on a percussion quartet entitled , for Central Michigan University as well as a piece for the Illinois State University Wind Symphony entitled . Mr. Matter has a MM in percussion performance from the University of Illinois where he studied with William Moersch and Ricardo Flores.  Matter also studied composition with Stephen Andrew Taylor. Matter is founder of Music Matters School of Music in Batavia Illinois and is also a member of a percussion duet that focuses on Electro-Acoustic music.CHOKEDual Velocity, Rank. Musicians-Sarah Sexton, Joshua Haggerty, Jason Detec, Elizabeth Bartley, Joanna Fuchs. Commissioned by Glenn Schaft. Recorded 4/23/05 at YSU by Mike Telanca.

Reactions for drumset and wind ensemble was commissioned by Dr. Glenn Schaft and was composed by Dave Morgan in 2002 as a vehicle for the drum soloist to exhibit improvisatory virtuosity in a variety of musical environments. This multi-section work moves through a variety of common feels including swing, rumba, ballad, and funk, with plenty of room for soloing. The wind ensemble is treated almost like a huge big band. The drum part contains only the basic blueprint of the form so that every drummer who plays the piece can bring his or her own style and personality to it. Dr. David Morgan is Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Youngstown State University. Featuring Dr. Glenn Schaft-drumset soloist, YSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. Stephen Gage. Recorded 2/22/04 at Powers Auditorium by Bill Brooks. 

Credits: Executive Producer - Dr. Glenn Schaft, Audio engineering-Mike Talanca & Bill Brooks, Editing and mixing-Mike Talanca at Tune Town Studios, Newton Falls, Ohio. Mastered by Dan Shirey at Oakwood Audio Lab, Oil City, Pennsylvania, Cover art and graphic design - Sean O’Neil, Youngstown, Ohio, Tracks 1-8 recorded 4/23/05 & 5/23/05 by Mike Talanca at Youngstown State University, Dana School of Music Recording Studio, Youngstown, Ohio, Track 9 recorded 2/22/04 at Powers Auditorium, Youngstown, Ohio by Bill Brooks-Concert Masters Recording.

Special thanks: the composers - Dr. Dave Morgan, Dr. Till Meyn, Jeffrey Mather, Ted Rounds, and Daniel Levitan. Dr. Mike Crist, director of the Dana School of Music. This is the first commercially released recording completed at the Dana School of Music recording studio. Avedis Zildjian, Remo, ProMark, Dynasty, & Black Swamp Percussion for your support. To my YPC and YSU Percussion Ensemble colleagues for your dedication, vision, and musical contributions.SELECTIONS: * denote World Premiere Recording

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