This piece attempts to create a kind of wavering sustain by tasking each marimba with a similar-but-different part in the same register. That sound inspired the name of the work. The title is also meant to hint at the two most important musical forces in the piece: meters and mediants.
“Meteor” is a wonderful piece for two marimbas that was commissioned by the Escape X percussion duo. Composer Stephen Ridley writes, “One key issue to be dealt with in any percussion piece is sustain. For ‘Meteor,’ I made a general rule that I would avoid rolls, and opt instead for tuplets, or for separate repeated notes, which I could place more precisely in time. This piece also attempts to create a kind of wavering sustain by tasking each marimba with a similar-but-different part in the same register.”
This piece does not disappoint. With the parameters and limitations set by Ridley, he creates a unique sounding piece for marimba duo that is both complex and accessible. The rhythms are complicated but satisfying, and the harmonic content has a nice popular/minimalist quality. Melodically, Ridley fools the listener, implying the time signature to be duple when it is triple and vice-versa.
Technically, “Meteor” is very advanced. Because of the complex nature of the rhythms and feels, some score study will be required to perform this piece successfully. A good understanding of two-over-three and five-over-three rhythms will be helpful. The piece requires some advanced four-mallet techniques including octaves, large interval changes and a large dynamic range.
Overall, “Meteor” is a very well thought-out piece that is accessible to performers and audiences. This piece would be perfect for an advanced undergraduate or graduate recital.
— Joe Millea, Percussive Notes — July 2017