ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH (b.1939): Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra, STEPHEN HARTKE (b.1952): The Horse with the Lavender Eye for Clarinet, Violin and Piano, AARON JAY KERNIS (b.1935): Trio in Red for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, AARON COPLAND (1900-1990): Sextet for Clarinet, Piano and String Quartet.
Catalogue Number: 08O075
Reference: DE 3423
Description: The Hartke draws on a surreal combination of diverse extra-musical influences as inspiration for four short, entertaining pieces in which modernity and popularity clash, to sometimes comic effect. Kernis' trio is warmly neo-romantic, with an extended lyrical movement with episodes of tension and turbulence, followed by a short, frantic danse macabre. Zwilich's fine and eloquent concerto, in the rich tonal idiom of her recent works, became a 9/11 memorial piece, as that tragic event happened during the process of composition. A lively first movement, full of jazzy syncopations and a sense of careless well-being contrasts with a deeply tragic elegy, alternating stark outrage with shocked, withdrawn contemplation. The remaining two movements are a scherzo, trying to return to the mood of the opening, but with a little too much of a sense of frenetic over-exertion to sound completely balanced, and a finale which achieves a kind of hard-won reconciliation and moves toward a sense of expectant optimism for the future. David Shifrin (clarinet), Chamber Music Northwest.