The title of this adventurous
disc comes from Leo Kraft who, along
with Alec Wilder, is probably the best
known of the septet of composers. Wilder
is the oldest – he died in 1980 and
many remember him fondly for his wide-ranging
interests and attractive musicianship.
Then there’s Carson Cooman who, if the
notes are to be believed, was born in
1982 and was therefore was only twenty-one
at the time, with over 300 compositions
already under his belt. In which case
he was a very serious minded and busy
young chap and looks set fair to break
all-comers opus records by the time
We start with Manookian’s
Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Piano and
String Orchestra which he himself conducts,
a clever Bachian tribute but also brittle
and surprisingly brusque in places.
It’s in three movements of which the
second is crepuscular and yearning.
Little March themes step out and a very
romantic warmth emerges towards the
end of the Toccata - and fun in the
coda. Cortes’ sliver of an Elegy – not
four minutes long – is concise and adroit
and Wilder impresses with his four movement
Suite. High points are the offbeat jazzy,
Scherzo-like second movement and the
well-argued slow movement (marked III).
Kraft shows his skill and, well, craft
with the witty, pert piece for flute
and clarinet that, as I said, gives
us a warm-sounding title. There’s neo-classicism
in the fourth of the five movements
(marked "Fairly fast") and
a piece of hoe-downy barnyardery in
the capricious joie de vivre of the
last movement, marked "Lively."
All this in no more than about seven
Ran was composer in
residence with the Chicago Symphony
from 1990-1997 and her East Wind is
a technically demanding piece that causes
even Laurel Ann Maurer some difficulties.
Muczynski studied composition with Alexandre
Tcherepnin. He contributes his Duos
for flute and clarinet all of which
cover geographical and technical ground
and are richly appealing. The Allegro
risoluto is especially attractive: full
of fresh air as are the Eastern sounding
tints of the Moderato.
The notes are brief
but to the point and the soloists, notably
Maurer, make a strong case for these
clever and attractive and often evocative