It was no sleepy Sunday for ClarinetFest 2014 at Shaver Theater this morning, where another Lagniappe Recital showcased several excellent performers and their eclectic choices of music, including several works with electronics and visuals and a world premiere piece for solo bass clarinet. Marianne Gythfeldt, Anne Watson, and the Myth-Science Ensemble all performed for a supportive and patient audience despite the recital’s late start.
Dr. Marianne Gythfeldt, an Assistant Professor of Music at Brooklyn College, started the hour with Mikel Kuehn’s Rite of Passage followed by Gene Pritsker’s Modified #4. The audience was surrounded by stereo electronic sounds while Dr. Gythfeldt played live passages from the center of the stage. Her use of a laptop and panel of foot pedals enabled her to change the electronic sounds as the music progressed.
Dr. Anne Watson of Northeastern State University (Tahlequah, Oklahoma) continued the recital with the world premiere of Theresa Martin’s Grit n’ Grind for bass clarinet. Dr. Watson briefly described an intense exercise routine, involving crawls through the mud, which prompted Theresa Martin to compose the work. The piece’s call for steady technique throughout the bass clarinet’s registers was highlighted wonderfully by Dr. Watson’s playing.
The final works of the concert were presented by the Myth-Science Ensemble of Dwight Frizzell and Thomas Aber on bass clarinet, zwoom, and electronica. Their first work Slippages III was accompanied by brilliantly-colored visual presentations as a backdrop for the performers. Frizzell discussed the directional approach to the work’s amplification, where a unit of sound may be played live by Frizzell or Aber and then repeated behind them on electronics or vice-versa. The use of zwooms, a long circular tube with bass clarinet mouthpiece, produced a dark and shrill sound similar to a contrabass clarinet, though their movement of the instruments varied the timbre. The second work Oceans of Kansas was aptly named for the audio samples of certain reactive minerals and chemicals used in the piece. Aber provided whimsical bass clarinet sounds and passages while the visual and audio presentation of the piece carried on.
–Notes by Joel Auringer
Joel Auringer is a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He currently maintains a private studio in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas metroplex, and will begin doctoral study at the University of North Texas in the fall.
One strong point of ClarinetFest 2014 has been the array of excellent performances on bass clarinet, often showcasing new music for the instrument. This Lagniappe Recital was a shining example of that. Barbara Haney and Jason Alder performed Daniel Dorff’s In a Deep Funk: Dance Set for Solo Bass Clarinet and Stockhausen’s Solo für melodieinstrument und Rückkopplung, respectively.
In a Deep Funk featured four movements with a play on popular dance crazes from the middle of the last century, called Hustle Misterioso, Twist Variations, Bear Hug, and Funk Scherzo. The music was sometimes raucous and sometimes singing, but always had an underlying groove. Barbara Haney played very convincingly, executing the large leaps and use of the full range of the bass clarinet with great ease.
Solo für melodieinstrument und Rückkopplung (Solo for a melody instrument and feedback), although composed in 1966, was still new to most people in the audience. In the day and age when Stockhausen finished this work, it required at least four people in addition to the soloist to create the feedback that is key to the piece. Through countless hours of computer work, Jason Alder created a system in which to perform the piece by himself. Alder surrounded himself with a laptop, his phone, which provided an audio and visual metronome to cue him for the beginning of each musical cycle, and a microphone attached to his bass clarinet. The third time was a charm; technical difficulties required Alder to start the piece a few times before everything worked properly, but once it got off the ground, Solo took over the recital hall. At times, the feedback from the bass clarinet sounded like a string section. Other times, feedback that was a more exact copy of Alder’s original sound accompanied him to form unusual chords and polyphonies. Before beginning to play, Alder pointed out that there will never be two identical performances of Stockhausen’s Solo since he provides several musical sets which are to be paired together through the feedback in any combination of the soloist’s choosing. We have Alder to thank for the ability now to perform this very interesting work as a true solo, as well as for bringing it to our attention.
–Notes by Alaina Pritz
Alaina Pritz is a recent graduate from The University of Maryland and currently plays with The United State Air Force Band – Band of the Golden West.
The Lagniappe Recital in Shaver Theatre Sunday at 12:00 featured new music for the clarinet. Andrew DeBoer opened with Nikola Resanovic’s Sonata for B-flat Clarinet and Piano, a bluesy but modern work featuring everything from glissandos to flutter tonguing to sections that sounded like Baltic folk music. The piece is in four movements that blend together: “I. For the Money… II. To Go… III. To get Ready… and IV. Go Cat, Go!” DeBoer’s playing was clean, controlled and thoughtful.
Next, Lisa Oberlander performed Roger Zare’s Nocture étincelant and James Primosch’s Times Like These. Oberlander executed the soaring melodies and gentle chalumeau passages in the first work effortlessly. The second piece called for several adjustments to the piano including wrapping a piece of felt around two strings to achieve a wood block sound and wrapping a paper clip around another string. At times throughout the piece, pianist Tatiana Muzanova placed fingers on strings to bring out the harmonics. She also created an odd effect by pedaling slightly after playing a chord, which caught some of the notes and harmonics but not all. The duo played expressively to make for a successful pairing of works.
Maryanne Lacaille performed Nikola Resanovic’s Alt.Music.Ballistix next. A wild piece with prerecorded sound effects that were broadcast in stereo in the theater — including a fax machine, a dial tone, a car crash, a typewriter, a dial-up modem login, drums, a tambourine, an accordion, and an automated voice asking the caller to enter a password and the pound sign — accompanied Lacaille as she laid out several complicated passages on her clarinet. The vibrant music seemed to match the purple patent loafers she wore, and the LSU bell tower chiming the time in the distance during a pause in the music created a surreal effect.
Matthew Nelson and Vanguel Tangarov closed the recital with Bruce Quaglia’s After Milton: Three Vignettes for B-flat Clarinet and Bojidar Abrashev’s Recitative and Burlesque, respectively. The performers executed both very demanding pieces with great skill and musicianship, especially in regards to the delicate high notes at soft dynamics in each one. Audience members took away from this concert excellent additions to their lists of performance repertoire and a refreshed inspiration to pursue new works for our instrument.
–Notes by Alaina Pritz
Alaina Pritz is a recent graduate from The University of Maryland and currently plays with The United State Air Force Band – Band of the Golden West.
Alcides and Heather.
The recital opened with a delightful performance of Alexander Grechaninov’s Sonata No. 1 for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 161 by Dmitry Perevertailenko (clarinet) and Seong Eun (Grace) Kim (piano). The work was enjoyable, oscillating between a jolly and playful nature to a more melancholy yet still comedic one. Especially beautiful was the second movement, Canzona. The third movement contained many false endings that left the audience wondering how it would close.
Next up was Buffet Crampon and Vandoren Artist Alcides Rodriguez of the Atlanta Symphony. He was joined by Gail Novak at the piano performing the Widor Introduction and Rondo, which was not listed on the program. Alcides’ command of the technique was evident, as was his beautiful tone, especially at piano dynamics. His performance was extremely well received by all.
Next Alcides was joined by Heather Rodriguez (Rodriguez Musical Services) for Ponchielli’s Il Covegno. Their tones blended exceptionally well and they made this tricky work seem effortless. Bravo.
The recital closed with a work by Thomas Drury, Sonatina for Clarinet and Piano. Thomas Josenhans, clarinet (Chair-University of Evansville), was joined by the composer at the piano. The first movement, “Driving but buoyant” was in ternary form and had a wonderful imitative quality. The second movement, “Quite slow but with a lilt” started with a beautiful (possibly Irish) folk song that then transformed into an anxious and dissonant section. Another three-part form, the melody returned to be performed by the piano and ending positively. The third movement was a jig that had running triplets before becoming fragmented and imitative once more. The piece was performed with enthusiasm and would work well on recitals for students and professionals alike.
–Notes by Dr. Dawn Marie Lindblade
Dr. Lindblade is the Assistant Professor of Clarinet at the University of Central Oklahoma and is a Clinician at Clarinet Pro Workshops, Austin Texas.
What an amazing recital! This performance offered audiences a chance to hear many different selections showcasing the different timbres and extended techniques of clarinet. Unfortunately Sergio Reyes was unable to attend so the first performance was the Invisible Duet by Fredrik Högberg, executed from memory. This work is performed with a prerecorded track and has the soloist walk onstage with the clarinet in its case so it is assembled as part of the show. The performer is then called to speak the single line, “Meditation begins.” The meditation is quickly over and the performer is off to the races. This piece truly is a stage production that seems based on the premise that the clarinetist is playing a game trying to beat the level titled “Invisible Duet.” At the completion of the clarinet part, the voiceover track says, “Invisible duet complete. Well done.” The performer then walks off the stage as the track concludes.
Second on the program was Bug by Bruno Mantovani performed by contemporary music specialist Spencer Prewitt. This performance was virtuosic and demanded flutter tonguing, timbre trills, and quartertones from the performer. Prewitt played with fire under his fingers and definitely depicted the imagery evoked by the title.
Radovan Cavallin Zerjal closed the recital with three works: Pastoral Fantasy for Solo Clarinet by Croatian-born New York native Božidar Kunc, Monolog for Solo Clarinet by Andjelko Klobučar dedicated to Zerjal’s father, and 11 per 1 in 1 for Solo Clarinet by Dubravko Detoni dedicated to the performer. Zerjal’s stage presence and artistry captured the audience from the moment he walked onstage. His first piece truly highlighted his sotto voce range and dynamic dramaticism while subsequent works displayed his ability to flutter tongue while singing, circular breathe, and use body language for dramatic effect.
All three of these performers displayed extreme technical mastery while also making evident their compelling passion and individual musical statements.
–Notes by Senior Airman Jennifer M. Daffinee
Jennifer is a member of the United States Air Force Band of the West and is also finishing her DMA at the University of North Texas with Kimberly Cole Lluevano.
The 9:00 Sunday Lagniappe recital in the School of Music Recital Hall featured a variety of chamber ensembles, in combinations both familiar and unfamiliar. It opened with a spirited performance of four Estampas Criollas composed by Beatriz Lockhart, performed by the Quartet Atrivedo. The clarinet quartet played the lilting rhythms of these charming dances with admirable energy, syncopations and cross-rhythms shimmying away under sweet lyrical melodies. This was an altogether enjoyable performance, carried off with panache and style by the four artists: Allison Allum, Emily Kerski, and Mando Ramirez on clarinets and Asa Graf on bass clarinet.
The second group to perform was a wind trio from The University of Tennessee-Martin, an unusual trio of flute, played by Charles Lewis; clarinet, played by Elizabeth Aleksander; and saxophone, played by Doug Owens. The group performed seven short movements by Paul Harvey with charm and grace. The group balanced the three voices beautifully, so that each of the instruments could be clearly heard, and some lovely timbral blends emerged. The Incantation movement, which featured Lewis on alto flute, was especially notable. While each of the players had a chance to step into the spotlight with lovely melodies, the most notable feature of this performance was the wonderfully balanced chamber aesthetic demonstrated by this accomplished ensemble.
The final selection on the program was I Never Saw Another Butterfly, a duo for soprano voice and clarinet by Lori Laitman, performed by Laura Storm and Steven Becraft of Henderson State University. Storm explained that the texts are from a collection of poems written by children interred in German concentration camps during World War II, but she noted that in spite of their tragic circumstances, many of the poems are full of life and joy. Storm declaimed the texts clearly, with a rich, velvety vocal tone, matched by Becraft with a sound that was focused and warm in all its registers. The songs evoked a variety of moods, from the dance-like Yes, That’s The Way Things Are to the ominous quality of The Old House. Lighter moments, as in Birdsong, where the two voices were braided together in their high register, contrasted with darker ones, like the low bell-like tones and static vocal line that opened the final song. Becraft and Storm brought riveting drama to this powerful set of songs, bringing the concert to a contemplative close.
–Notes by Michael Rowlett
Michael Rowlett is the assistant Professor of Clarinet at The University of Mississippi. You can find his CD Close to Home: Music of American Composers on Amazon and Albany Records.
This recital of all contemporary music provided a wide variety of styles within the modern medium. Benjamin Lulich of Cal State – Fullerton performed Five Easy Pieces by Bacewicz, which turned out to be not so aptly named. Lulich’s fast tempos provided for a lively interpretation. As a special treat Lulich performed the second movement of Lutoslawski’s Dance Preludes. This charming and recognizable movement was performed with great energy and style.
One of the highlights of all the conference performances was the Luxembourg Duo. Sebastien Duguet (clarinet) and Simone Weber (bass clarinet) began their portion of the program with Meeting by Alfred Prinz. From Ms. Weber’s first note, I was struck by her carefully shaped and beautifully refined bass playing. Each note took on special meaning. Sebastien Duguet executed the work’s many dangerously high entrances with grace and perfection. His smooth connections between wide intervals were especially noted in the first movement of Gunther Schuller’s Duo Sonata. Duguet masterfully performed the tricky arpeggiated flourishes of the second movement. Jonathan Russell’s KlezDuo finished this portion of the program, a tasty work more understated than most of his compositions for various clarinet ensembles. The Luxembourg Duo presented this work with great authentic style, yet had a refinement not often heard in the Klezmer setting. The extremely high level of communication demonstrated by this duo throughout the program was thrillingly evident during the last note of their performance — a tremolo that started slow, sped up, and ended perfectly together, with exact synchronization. The performers achieved this feat by facing each other and following the movement of their fingers. Bravo Luxembourg Duo for a spell-binding performance!
–Notes by Melissa Bowles Snavely
Melissa Bowles Snavely holds degrees in performance and music education from The Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins, Shenandoah Conservatory, and James Madison University. She currently teaches and performs in the Washington DC area.
To open the recital, Mr. Fraioli performed the world premiere of his composition Suggestioni for Clarinet and String Quartet with the Ritz Chamber Players. At times quite jazzy, this piece moved through several different moods such as a lovely unison duet with the clarinet and first violin, a poignant counterpoint duet between clarinet and cello, and a sustained and lyrical clarinet line against constant pizzicati from the quartet. At one point Mr. Fraioli moved so excitedly he almost flew out of his chair! As the piece came to an end, he tore through virtuosic passages embellished with several well-placed smears. A final series of sharply accented chords led the listeners to expect a calculated cadential sequence, but instead, the quartet stopped as Mr. Fraioli held a single note, stood up, and walked off stage. Still playing behind closed doors, his sound faded to niente, a delightful and unexpected conclusion!
Next, John P. McCowen’s Clarinet Quartet No. 1 was performed, from memory, by the composer with Mr. Emch, Mr. Fitzgerald, and Mr. Goodman. It opened with barely audible notes moving slowly in and out of the texture, creating a feeling of swimming through a calm, unbroken lake of sound. The quartet began to gingerly add pitch bends and quavering trills. Use of multiphonics created the illusion of electrical interference or feedback, and with an expanded range, dynamic contrast, and harsher, growling timbres the music vacillated in and out of intensity. Eventually calmed, the placid levels suddenly end. Throughout the work, the group stayed as still as possible, adding a visual element to the performance. At the end, and desperate for movement, they quickly bounded out of their seats, breaking the spell created by this intriguing piece.
–Notes by Sam Davies
Sam Davies recently completed his first year of DMA study with Dr. Guy Yehuda at Michigan State University. At MSU Davies can be heard performing with the Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, chamber ensembles, and new student compositions.
As ClarinetFest winds down, attendees were entertained Saturday with a potpourri of chamber music.
The first ensemble to perform was the ‘Miami Clarinets’ whose members are Margaret Donaghue Flavin, Dawn McConkie, Michael Walsh, and Danielle Woolery Scalia. Dr. Flavin is Professor of Clarinet at the University of Miami Frost School of Music and the three remaining members are all doctoral alumni of the program. They performed two pieces: Fugue and Prelude by Choi and Of Living Sapphire by Mulligan.
To contrast the timbre of the quartet Jaren Hinckley, clarinet, Christian Smith, bassoon, and Jeffrey Shumway, piano, performed Hinckley’s work Hinterlands in 3 movements, I. Eas Coul Aulin (Sutherland, Scotland), II. Rocky Ridge (Wyoming, U.S.A.), and III. Nordkapp (Finnmark, Norway). The first movement was a wonderful dialogue between the two as they traded off the energized main motive. The second movement truly highlighted the warm timbre of the bassoon as it soloed over the clarinet accompaniment. The piece closed with an animated movement that again highlighted the bassoon’s charming character and left the listener invigorated.
Dutch clarinetist Céleste Zewald performed Rudolf Escher’s Sonata for Clarinet Solo before being joined by members of the Ritz chamber orchestra in the final ensemble of the recital. They performed Alexander Glazunov’s quintet Oriental Reverie.
–Notes by Senior Airman Jennifer M. Daffinee
Jennifer is a member of the United States Air Force Band of the West and is also finishing her DMA at the University of North Texas with Kimberly Cole Luevano.
A Brazilian ensemble opened the recital program with performances of a variety of arrangements by Daniel Dalarossa, Reinaldo Lima, and Renato Leme. Ensemble members include Reinaldo Lima, Henrique Candido, Renato Leme, and Heber Pequeno who were all sponsored by Choromusic. The audience seemed to enjoy the variety of musical genres adapted for the ensemble, from Bach Prelude to Partita and from Charlie Parker to traditional Brazilian tunes.
Katherine Palmer took stage for the second portion of the recital with works by Peruvian composer, Armando Guevara Ochoa. Katherine introduced his musical style as capable of incorporating sounds of the Andes mountains. This first unaccompanied piece had a variety of styles, from gentle songs to festive dances. Michelle Von Haugg joined Katherine Palmer for Huayno, a delightful and short duo, a Peruvian Dance in 2/4. Lamento Andino, a beautiful trio for voice, clarinet, and piano, concluded Katherine Palmer’s performance on this recital. The performers executed beautifully and it was a wonderful shift in timbre and style.
The final portion of the recital included the last three movements of the Ravel Sonata performed by Patricia Card and Scott Card (cello). The third movement was full of beautiful and lyrical imagery which displayed Patricia Card’s warm tone and control, especially in the clarinet’s chalumeau. The piece had an abundance of challenges for the performers including rhythmic and contrapuntal scoring, long lyrical leaps and biting intervals, all handled with great attention to detail. Congratulations to all of these performers for a very eclectic and energetic program.–Notes by Dr. Mary Alice Druhan
Dr. Mary Alice Druhan is the Associate Professor of Clarinet, Texas A&M University-Commerce and a Buffet performing artist.