If ever a CD deserved program notes, it’s this one; and yet none are provided with this surprising release. What Innova should have let you know is that Nathaniel Stookey (b. 1970) has all sorts of respectable credits on his résumé, including a composer in residence stint at the Hallé Orchestra (Manchester, U.K.) and performances from a passel of leading American orchestras. After that it gets interesting. In 2007, he snagged a four-month engagement as artist in residence for Norcal Waste Systems, and in that capacity he scoured the San Francisco Solid Waste Transfer and Recycling Center (aka the San Francisco dump) in search of potential musical instruments. The result, he reported, was “a sonorous collection of pipes, pans, mixing bowls, bottles, serving trays, deck railings, dresser drawers, oil drums, bike wheels, saws, garbage cans, bathroom fixtures, bird cages, and shopping carts.” Thus was born Junkestra, a vibrantly energetic, bright-toned piece that calls to mind a Balinese gamelan. In this debut recording, the piece is entrusted to seven percussionists from the Bay Area plus musical-saw virtuoso David Weiss, all conducted by Benjamin Schwartz. The three movements escalate into a finale titled “(Where does the Lone Ranger take his garbage?),” based on Rossini’s William
Tell overture. The whole CD runs about 15 minutes, which is probably enough, and it is priced accordingly.