GARY CARPENTER (b.1951): Ein Musikalisches Snookerspiel for Wind Octet, Da Capo for 6 Players, Distanza for 23 Players, Van Assendelft's Vermeer for Clavichord, After Braque for 20 Players, Die Flimmerkiste for 11 Players.

Catalogue Number: 09J079

Label: NMC

Reference: D111

Format: CD

Price: $19.98

Description: Humor in music is difficult to define, but you know it when you hear it; Carpenter's Snookerspiel is a priceless example of it, sophisticated enough that you don't see the punchlines coming, broad enough that you laugh out loud when they do. Adapting Mozart's musical dice game by using a game of snooker (a game almost, but not quite, completely unlike pool, for the benefit of non-British readers), the work adapts Mozart's material using the full resources of the modern composer. All these works contain similar displays of wit, though Carpenter certainly doesn't only write 'funny' music; Distanza, for instance - a reflection on the obscure 16th century composer Arcadelt - has passages of genuine pathos and drama, as well as spatiĀ±al effects ingeniously employed. All the works contain a core of tonality, but Carpenter freely uses whatever level of dissonance he wants for effect or as a natural component of his vocabulary, and he could clearly write any kind of academic serial or atonal music if he wanted - which he equally clearly doesn't. The is it minimalist? is it pointillist? study for the whispering clavichord (turn off the air conditioner and make the dogs/kids go outside, or you won't hear it) is just another example of the pitch-perfect joke with a serious point typical of the composer. Chance operations again play a role in Die Flimmerkiste, an extended suite of 38 miniatures, eccentric and characterful, the effusions of a modern-day Erik Satie. Pamela Nash (clavichord), Ensemble 10/10; Clark Rundell, Gary Carpenter.

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