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David Farshaw, Jeremy Pike, John Reeman, Kevin Malone, Geoffrey Kimpton, David Golightly and Stephen Plews. Roger Heaton, clarinet - Stephen Pruslin, piano ASC CS CD2
ASC records may be ordered directly from ASC Productions, 145a Chester Road, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 8PT. 01625 423605

This is the sort of release I am always fascinated to listen to. Most of these composers are new to me and all obviously love writing for the clarinet (alone or with piano accompaniment) though each of them has his own approach to the medium. Farshaw's Albireo (1996) is a very enjoyable work written in a fairly straightforward way as is John Reeman's Plaint (1994) and Geoffrey Kimpton's Serenade for Clarinet & Piano (1963/4). On the other hand Jeremy Pike's Close Circuit written for clarinet, piano and digital delay and Kevin Malone's The Last Memory for clarinet and digital delay may be somewhat more "modern" although the effect of the digital delay is in both cases fairly discreet and finely realized aiming at achieving some mysterious poetical effects or at suggesting some sort of counterpoint rather than using the medium as a mere gimmick. These pieces obviously do not aim at "épater le bourgeois" as we say in French. They are really fine pieces in their own right. The most substantial and ambitious piece in this collection is undoubtedly David Golightly's Moods (1980) for solo clarinet, written for Roger Heaton who plays this rather difficult and technically demanding piece with consummate ease and assured technique. Golightly relies on a number of modern techniques, such as quarter tones, multiphonics, glissandi, breath tones and the like without ever giving the impression of mere experiment. Quite the contrary, each mood is vividly depicted with imagination and poetical insight. Obviously, to my ears at least, this is a major addition to the repertoire. This very interesting release is rounded-off with a delightful short piece by Stephen Plews (incidentally the only composer I knew as a jazz musician, pianist and composer whose Secret Spaces performed by the Steve Plews Trio is available on ASC CD 3) simply titled Sketch which the insert notes (the composer's?) bluntly describe as exploring "modern jazz harmony and aspects of 20th century classical music". Anyway a delightfully jolly trifle to conclude a highly commendable release magnificently played by Roger Heaton and Stephen Pruslin.


Hubert Culot


Hubert Culot

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