This disc of the percussion music of David Maslanka is appealing on two counts; first it has great sound with good playing, and second, the music itself is terrific. About Montana Music the composer writes: "The work is in three slow movements. They are nocturnal, lunar, inward pieces, dedicated to the spirit of the Earth, which speaks with a particular power in the mountains of my adopted western Montana. The vibraphone is often the center of attention in this music. Its evocative bell-like character may be thought of as a motif for the whole work. Arcadia means a pastoral district of ancient Greece, or any place of rural peace and simplicity. It refers as well, to the mythic land of human origin. The title Arcadia II has a double intent: it is the second piece of mine with the title Arcadia, and it is a musical prayer for the well-being of the Earth. The Concerto uses a traditional concerto form: faster outer movements surrounding a slower middle movement. The first movement arises from the darkness. I remember standing in a New Hampshire meadow on a summer evening. One by one the fireflies lit up until the darkening field was alive with their activity. The tiny opening bell sounds of this movement represent the fireflies. The second movement is a nature meditation. IT comes directly from my walks in Inwood Hill Park in upper Manhattan. The last movement is infused with a spirit of playfulness, light, and simple joy in the glories of nature. The title Crown of Thorns is an obvious reference to Christ's crown of thorns, but the name first came to me as a possible title for a piece from seeing a plant called the "Crown of Thorns" at the New York Botanical Gardens. It is a rambling, thorny desert plant from the Middle East, with small green leaves, and small, very simple and pretty red flowers. The rambling, interweaving, vine-like stems suggested music to me."
David Maslanka, composer Montana Music: Three Dances for Percussion Central Michigan University Percussion Ensemble, Robert Hohner, conductor David Maslanka, composer Arcadia II: Concerto for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble Central Michigan University Percussion Ensemble, Todd Johnson, marimba, Robert Hohner, conductor David Maslanka, composer Crown of Thorns Central Michigan University Percussion Ensemble, Robert Hohner, conductor
"Montana Music is composer David Maslanka's homage to his adopted state, not a paean to a great quarterback. All three movements are slow and each has quiet outer sections framing a louder middle. Maslanka's music is essentially restful, and is often evocative of Ansel Adam's photography. Just when things seem too placid, Maslanka jars the listener with thunderstorm-like outbursts or an Ivesian siren, produced only by percussion Albany's excellent recording has warmth and ambiance, plus tight, precise imaging." (Fanfare)