Eric Stokes

Composer(s): Eric Stokes
Album Title: Susquehannas/ The Pickpocket is Lyrical Two/ Tintinnabulary (Phonic Paradigm IV)/ Whittlings 
Cat. No.: 80596
Genre: Classical
Description: Zeitgeist: Heather Barringer, Patti Cudd, Jay Johnson percussion; Carl Witt, keyboards; Michael Lowenstern, reeds; David Milne, alto saxophone; with Eric Stokes, percussion

Music is for the people. For all of us: the dumb, the deaf, the dogs and jays,  handclappers, dancing moon watchers, brainy puzzlers, abstracted v whistlers, finger-snapping time keepers, crazy, weak, hurt, weed keepers, the strays. The land of music is everyone's nation-her tune, his beat, your drum-one song, one vote.        
-Eric Stokes

Eric Stokes (1930–1999) was a unique voice in American music. He was a genuine original, justly compared with Ives, Cage, and Henry Brant. A sense of grandeur, a love of nature, and a need for personal freedom were central to both the man and his work. Nicolas Slonimsky, in Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (8th edition), records that he was "variously described as a crusty, eccentric, wonderfully humorous, very healthy and resourceful American composer of gentle, witty, lyrically accessible music, with a taste for folkloric Americana and a ‘Whitmanesque' ear."

The four compositions on this, the first recording devoted entirely to his music, evince, in varying degrees and combinations, all these attributes.

Susquehannas (1985) is a nature-inspired ode to the Indians who lived in the Eastern mountains.

The Pickpocket is Lyrical Two (1994) incorporates several folk melodies (and a few of the composer's own) in a fairly straightforward setting rich in lyricism and humor.

Tintinnabulary (Phonic Paradigm IV) (1983), for two percussionists, is a beautiful exploration of sound qua sound, an attempt "to ring some few of the sounding world's most multitudinous tintinnabularies."

Whittlings (1992) was composed as a sonic metaphor on the art of whittling. Metaphor aside, it's a witty, jazz-inflected rhythmic workout that brings the program to a spirited conclusion. 
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