Classical Music  Listening Room  Fiction & Other Writings  The Reading Room

     Theatre Works  Songs   Biography  Notes  Photos  Contact  Links

Return to Homepage

Commentary & Reviews

Real musicality! – Leonard Bernstein

Area 51 - electronic

                    "I find Area 51 quite arresting." - Twyla Tharp, Choreographer 

Diversions - solo timpani

“Diversions is a unique and compelling work for solo timpani. Diversions capitalizes on the melodic and rhythmic strengths of the timpani, bringing out the best aspects of an instrument that rarely receives the recognition it deserves, for it's solo capabilities.” - Jonathan Haas  

"Written for Jonathan Haas, Diversions (for six timpani) is a six-movement work challenging the timpanist both musically and technically. Each movement has a clever six-note melody. Since there are no pitch changes within each movement, Diversions could be played on six hand-tuned timpani, thus reducing the wide movement necessary on standard timpani. The drums could be arranged with the number five and six drums placed in front of drums three and four, rather than in a circle of six drums.
     Each movement is unique in tempo and style, and each movement has its own dynamic. Diversions is an excellent composition that extends the concept of timpani as a solo instrument."
                                                                      John H. Beck - Percussive Notes, April 2003

Fanfare For New Beginnings - brass sextet

"Wow! Love it! Like how the tension builds, great canon like the horn and trombone parts... Any serious brass group would eat this up... those interesting rests and odd time signatures are really affective!"
Pat O’Donnell – percussionist/composer, August 2013

Felicity Slide - xylophone and piano

                    "The xylophonist will enjoy learning the solo part with its traditional ragtime figures that lie well on the instrument." 
                                                                                          Scott Herring - Percussive Notes, June 2003

Galop - xylophone and piano

"Galop for xylophone and piano is a fast, fun piece for the budding keyboard percussionist who is ready for a technically challenging solo at the medium-difficult level... Galop is an excellent teaching piece for the advanced beginner." - Tom Morgan - Percussive Notes, April 2003

Ilona’s Waltz – flute and piano

                    "A short, lighthearted, wistful piece." – Andrew Allen, British flutist

Ilona's Waltz - vibraphone solo

                    "...this solo [is] ideal for recitals." - George Frock - Percussive Notes, August 2004

Ilona's Waltz - xylophone and piano

"Ilona's Waltz is a light-hearted waltz for the intermediate, two-mallet xylophonist to enjoy performing on any recital or program with piano accompaniment. Ian Finkel arranged a challenging part for the xylophonist... Finkel has added arpeggiated passages, fast double stops, octaves, and even a short cadenza. This work will help the two-mallet performer build "chops" as well as musicianship." - Lisa Rogers - Percussive Notes, April 2003   

Monologue 2 – flute solo

                    "Monologue II is a fine work for solo flute and deserves to be aired frequently."  - Andrew Allen, British flutist

Monologue 2 – xylophone solo

"This three movement piece should be played with great flair and sensitivity. 
I would suggest a medium hard mallet (but covered not naked rubber).
            Movement 1 Take care in the execution of the accents.
            Movement 2 Hold back the tempo and state the melody in the resonant style.
            Movement 3 Fast but do not rush. Save the accelerando for the ending"
                                                                                        Ian Finkel, xylophonist

"Monologue II is a three-movement, non-tonal work for unaccompanied xylophone. Two-mallet technique is required throughout and the texture is entirely monophonic. The piece could be effectively performed on marimba as well.
     Movement I, "Prelude" makes use of 12-tone technique...and contains much rhythmic variety and dynamic contrast. Sequential patterns that are repeated at an accelerating tempo add excitement and drama. Odd-note groupings and mixed meters abound, and yet the balance between unity and variety makes the movement hang together well.
     The short second movement, Lento Rubato, is marked quasi Mysterioso. ...The movement begins with a lyrical theme that is developed and fragmented. A quasi cadenza leads to a final suggestion of the theme and a dramatic upward sweep. 
     Scherzo - Quasi Galop, the final movement, explores the tritone interval. ...Scherzo serves as an exciting contrast to the previous music. This is a profound work demanding substantial technical skill and a depth of musical sensitivity." - Tom Morgan - Percussive Notes, April 2003

Monologue 7 - electric bass solo

I believe the Monologue's movements are valuable for all electric bassists, whether beginners or advanced. It requires a full range of musical techniques: Articulation; speed; accuracy; dexterity; instrument range; dynamics; sensitivity; knowledge of myriad musical styles; sight-reading skills and, ultimately, memorization. It is a wonderful solo piece for any bassist, and will certainly strengthen his or her abilities. Moreover, it will alert players to more sophisticated possibilities for their instrument!

“For me, I'd memorize it for a live performance as it would be the best way to capture the melodic flow of the piece. A certain 'vocal sensitivity' is inherent, and it 'sings' if played properly. I sense that inner flow particularly in the Waltz, and the expressive dynamic markings certainly add color. Additionally, all three movements are written in such a way that a variety of tempos -- subtle or even extreme -- could be utilized. Overall, it's a VERY expressive AND flexible piece of music!"                        Ed Sterbenz, New York Bassist

Parasol - alto flute and piano

"There isn't very much music for alto flute with the direction 'Lightly (in your best Music Hall style)' so I was intrigued to play this piece. It's such fun! It's not difficult and stays safely in the low register with the accompaniment adding the interest. Great demonstration or encore material."   
                         Christine Hankin, British flutist Editors Choice! - JustFlutes - Croydon, England

Parasol - vibraphone and piano

                   "...a gem [which] will provide a light-hearted and memorable closer to any recital or program." 
                                             Lisa Rogers - Percussive Notes, August 2004

Poem – flute solo

                    "Your Poem has an effective thematic kernel expertly developed." – Vincent Persichetti

                    "Your Poem is an attractive work!" – James J. Pellerite

"I have played your Poem a number of times now and find it to be a very excellent, short work." - Mark Thomas, Vice President, W.T. Armstrong Company

Scottish Blues – bass flute and piano or bass flute and piano, bass & drums

"This excellent piece fills the gap for crossover pieces in the small repertoire for bass flute. When performed with the additional bass and drum parts it would be a marvelous addition to any flutist's concert where perhaps the Claude Bolling pieces are on the program." – Ian Finkel, composer/arranger

"A hybrid piece in a blues/classical style. Very atmospheric for the bass flute." – Andrew Allen, British flutist

 "It's such fun! Great demonstration or encore material." - Christine Hankin - British flutist - Editors Choice! - JustFlutes - Croydon, England 

Scottish Blues – marimba and piano or marimba and piano, bass & drums

"This excellent characteristic helps fill the gap for Marimba pieces in the bass clef. It would be an excellent addition to any marimbist's recital. I suggest that medium soft mallets be used. It also can be played by left hand alone (as so many left hand piano pieces) thus strengthening the player's left hand as well as his grasp of the bass clef. The right hand may be used only when a note needs to be sustained. However if the player plays the piece holding two mallets in the left hand, he will of course achieve the sustaining long notes by using the one handed rolls." – Ian Finkel, xylophonist

"This is a bluesy, two-mallet jazz etude for marimba with rhythm accompaniment. The marimba part is written in bass clef, uses a 12/8 time signature, and is easily interpreted by younger players. Most of the melodic material is based on the C blues scale, the piano part is completely notated (eliminating the necessity to interpret chord symbols)... There are several sections, each requiring a different tempo, but never any faster than 120 bpm. Scottish Blues could also be played on vibraphone (with allowances for register considerations) and would be suitable for the high school mallet player looking for a jazz tune to perform in a music festival or concert." 
                                                          Terry O'Mahoney - Percussive Notes, April 2003

Serenade – flute and piano

                    "Serenade has a fresh harmonic background." – Vincent Persichetti

Six Pieces - oboe solo

                    "An effective work for oboe." - Vincent Persichetti

Snare Drum Study - snare drum solo

                   "A short but challenging snare drum solo... appropriate for auditions, percussion recitals or juried exams." 
                                                                                  Scott Herring - Percussive Notes, June 2003

Sonata - flute and piano

"Congratulations on an excellent piece. I like it a lot." - Mimi Stillman

"It is a superb piece – shows real originality, but also great control and real skill. It’s imaginative, has good structure and above all is interesting.” – Robert Gillman, British pianist

Sonata – xylophone and piano

"This is one of the few pieces to come along in recent time that, though it is in a modern idiom, it should be  played in the grand style of the great violin and piano sonatas. It is totally virtuosic and will make great   demands on both the xylophonist and pianist. Note the one handed rolls in the second movement. They should    be fast and even. The fourth movement is extremely difficult and the liberal use of double stickings is highly suggested." - Ian Finkel, xylophonist                           

"Sonata for Xylophone and piano, written for Ian Finkel, is a tour de force for the xylophone player. If ever there was a solo that covered the entire range of the xylophone, this is it. This is not a rag, so often associated with the xylophone, but a serious composition employing all the bells and whistles of a contemporary mallet solo. Lightening-fast arpeggios, octave leaps within sixteenth-notes, double-stop octaves, four-mallet playing and rapid artificial groupings can all be found in the work.

This composition features contrasting musical styles in each of its four movements. The serious xylophonist will find this work to be challenging, rewarding and a crowd pleaser." 
                                                               John H. Beck - Percussive Notes, April 2003

The Pinkerton Rag - bells and piano

                    "This solo would be a perfect encore to a mallet recital." - John H. Beck - Percussive Notes, August 2004

Whirlwind - woodwind quintet

                    "Whirlwind is an effective, short and breezy work for woodwind quintet." - Vincent Persichetti


Classical Music  Listening Room  Fiction & Other Writings  The Reading Room

     Theatre Works  Songs   Biography  Notes  Photos  Contact  Links

Return to Homepage