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Volume 1 Volume 1
Volume 2 Volume 2
Volume 3 Volume 3
Volume 4 Volume 4
Volume 5 Volume 5
Volume 6 Volume 6
Volume 7 Volume 7
Volume 8 Volume 8

Single Reed Expressions - Volumes 1-8
Ronald L. Caravan (clarinet, saxophones)
Sar Shalom Strong (piano)
rec. 1999-2009, New York City
Volumes only available separately
MARK RECORDS 51601-8-MCD [8 CDs: 569 mins]

Single Reed Expressions – an eight-disc series from Ronald L. Caravan and Sar-Shalom Strong – is a very interesting recording project with an unfortunately geeky title. Caravan and Strong, who are both connected with Syracuse University, New York, USA, have created a vast resource of recital music written for the clarinet and the saxophone. Each CD takes the form of a recital such as those that Caravan gave during his time on the faculty of Syracuse University. Caravan also takes the opportunity to showcase his own compositions, with at least one of his compositions on each disc.

Saxophonists must be constantly irritated by the lack of recognition for their instrument. Its recent development (the family of instruments was invented in 1848) means that the original repertoire available to saxophonists is either ‘modern’ or transcriptions of pieces meant for other instruments. This recording project is a case in point. Caravan elects to perform original compositions almost exclusively, which means that each CD is contained by quite a narrow historical frame. That said, the variety of styles within twentieth century music, and the carefully selected programmes mean that each recital contains demonstrations of lyricism, virtuosity, extended techniques and excellent ensemble playing between the two musicians.

With such a vast collection it is necessary to be selective in this discussion. Disc 2 features three works by American composer Walter S. Hartley whose works seem to be characterised by technically demanding music for both performers with extremes of ranges, rhythms and dynamics. Caravan and Strong both excel in this situation – working together to produce a coherent and engaging performance of very challenging music. The secret of success for this project, I think lies in the security of the partnership between musicians. This is demonstrated to perfection with Paul Creston’s Sonata op19 (disc 2). This accessible piece – with memorable melodies and tonal language – allows Strong to take the limelight every now and again. It allows Caravan to show off many of the colours of the alto saxophone. The warm tone colour of the middle and lower register of the instrument are enhanced with the performer’s quick vibrator, and the articulation brings life and energy. If you’re new to classical saxophone repertoire then this is a great place to start. Once you’ve settled into to the warmth of the saxophone tone get ready to explore its versatile soundscape. Try volume number 5 for Stravinsky’s unaccompanied clarinet pieces, followed by noises you’ve never heard before! Caravan’s Monologue uses extended techniques such as multiphonics (that growly sound) and micro-tones (notes between the notes) to really show off everything the instrument can do. Caravan’s most demanding composition is performed with incredible skill. And talking about new things – have a listen to the alto saxophone’s little brother. The soprano saxophone shares some features with the clarinet in terms of pitch and range, but has a clearer timbre and a more nasal quality than the alto. Some relief after the multiphonics is the playful Fantaisie by Denis Bedard – a piece that recalls elements of 1920s film music (the long melody lines and the frantic accompaniment) despite its composition date of 1984.

The challenge of being a multi-instrumentalist, even if the instruments are very close to each other, is less common amongst today’s professional musicians than in periods of musical history when it was common and necessary to perform on several different instruments. Caravan has made his career as a single reed player, but his strength lies firmly with the saxophone. Playing core clarinet repertoire such as the Poulenc Sonata (disc 5) and the Bernstein Sonata (disc 7) give an opportunity to compare these performances with others. Belgian clarinettist Annelien Van Wauwe performs Poulenc with a warmer tone and more control over the extremes of the registers. Hear Annelien’s performance on YouTube.

An eight-disc recording project is quite an undertaking. Single Reed Expressions is a wonderful documentation of Ronald L. Caravan’s long career and of his partnership with Sar-Shalom Strong. The twentieth and twenty-first century compositions will be a valuable resource to students of extended techniques and help to put the under-appreciated saxophone and its exciting repertoire on the map.

Hannah Parry
 
Volume 1
Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)
Grand Duo Concertante (1816), for clarinet & piano
Walter S. HARTLEY (1927-2016)
Sonatina Romantica (1994), for clarinet & piano
Ronald L. CARAVAN (b.1946)
Excursions for A Clarinet (1974), for clarinet solo
Fisher TULL (1934-1994)
Sarabande & Gigue (1974), for alto saxophone & piano
John David LAMB (b.1935)
Three Antique Dances, for alto saxophone solo
Karel HUSA (1921-2016)
Postcard from Home (1997), for alto saxophone & piano
Elegie & Rondeau (1960), for alto saxophone & piano
Jules DEMESSERMAN (1833-1866)
Fantaisie-Pastorale, for soprano saxophone & piano
Ronald L. CARAVAN
Quiet Time (1970), for soprano saxophone & piano
Lawson LUNDE (b.1935)
Sonata (The Alpine) (1970)
MARK RECORDS 51601-MCD [73:00]

Volume 2

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Fantasy Pieces, op. 73 (1849), for clarinet & piano
Willson OSBORNE (1906-1979)
Rhapsody (1958), for clarinet solo
Walter S. HARTLEY
Metamorphoses (1975), for clarinet & piano
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Vocalise, op. 34, adapted for soprano saxophone & piano
Walter S. HARTLEY
Diversions (1979), for soprano saxophone & piano
Warren BENSON (1924-2005)
Aeolian Song (1953), for alto saxophone & piano
Walter S. HARTLEY
Duo (1964), for alto saxophone & piano
Ronald L. CARAVAN
Sketch (1973), for alto saxophone solo
Paul CRESTON (1906-1985)
Sonata, op. 19 (1936), for alto saxophone & piano
MARK RECORDS 51602-MCD [72:00]

Volume 3

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Sonata in F minor, op. 120, no. 1 (1894), for clarinet & piano
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Premiere Rhapsodie (1909-10), for clarinet & piano
Walter S. HARTLEY
Sonorities IX (1997), for clarinet & piano
Erwin DRESSEL (1909-1972)
Partita (1964), for alto saxophone & piano
Walter S. HARTLEY
Petite Suite (1961), for alto saxophone solo
Ronald L. CARAVAN
Sonata (1984), for soprano saxophone & piano
MARK RECORDS 51603-MCD [71:00]


Volume 4

Johannes BRAHMS
Sonata in Eb, op. 120, no. 2 (1894), for clarinet & piano
James CORIGLIANO
Clarinet Caprice (1992), for clarinet & piano
Ronald L. CARAVAN
Recitation (1992), for clarinet & piano
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
Meditation from Thais (1894), arr. for soprano saxophone & piano
Ronald L. CARAVAN
Fantasy Piece (1984), for soprano saxophone (or clarinet) solo
James CORIGLIANO
Serenade & Rondo, for alto saxophone & piano
Otmar MÁCHA (1922-2006)
Plac Saxofonu (1969), for alto saxophone & piano
Erland von KOCH (1910-2009)
Sonata (1985), for alto saxophone & piano
MARK RECORDS 51604-MCD [71:00]


Volume 5

Francis POULENC (1899-1963)
Sonata (1962), for clarinet & piano
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
Three Pieces (1918), for clarinet solo
Robert MUCZYNSKI (1929-2010)
Time Pieces (1993), for clarinet & piano
Jeanine RUEFF (1922-1999)
Chanson et Passepied
Paule MAURICE (1910-1967)
Tableaux de Provence (1948-55), for alto saxophone & piano
Robert MUCZYNSKI
Sonata (1970), for alto saxophone & piano
Ronald L. CARAVAN
Monologue (1975), for alto saxophone solo
Denis BÉDARD (b.1950)
Fantaisie (1984), for soprano saxophone & piano
Mark Records 51605-MCD [70:00]

Volume 6

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
Sonata (1939), for clarinet & piano
Erland von KOCH
Monolog No. 3 (1975), for clarinet solo
Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1965)
Sonatina (1956), for clarinet & piano
Ernst KRENEK (1900-1991)
Suite, op. 48 (1955), for clarinet & piano
Erland von KOCH
Monolog No. 4 (1975), for saxophone solo
Karl REINER
Dve Skladby (1967), for alto saxophone & piano
Ronald L. CARAVAN
Improvisation (Romani), for saxophone solo
Bernhard HEIDEN (1910-2000)
Solo (1969), for alto saxophone & piano
Everett GATES (b. 1914)
Incantation & Ritual (1963), for saxophone solo
Erland von KOCH
Dance No. 2 (1967), for soprano saxophone & piano
MARK RECORDS 51606-MCD [72:00]

Volume 7

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990)
Sonata (1942), for clarinet & piano
Samuel ADLER (b.1928)
Canto XIV, A Klezmer Fantasy (1997), for clarinet solo
Robert STARER (1924-2001)
Dialogues (1961), for clarinet & piano
Alec TEMPLETON (1909-1963)
Pocket Size Sonata (1949), for clarinet & piano
Samuel ADLER
Canto IV (1971), for alto saxophone solo
John WORLEY (1919-1999)
Sonata (1975), for alto saxophone & piano
Elie SIEGMEISTER (1909-1991)
Around New York (1939), for alto saxophone & piano
Ronald L. CARAVAN
Soliloquy & Celebration (1996), for soprano saxophone & piano
Emmanuel de CORIOLIS
Tarentelle
MARK RECORDS 51607-MCD [71:00]

Volume 8

Bernhard HEIDEN
Sonatina (1935), for clarinet & piano
Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2012)
Sonatina (1981), for clarinet solo
Alban BERG (1885-1935)
Vier Stucke (1913), for clarinet & piano
Roberto SIERRA (b. 1953)
Cinco Bocetos (1984), for clarinet solo
Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b.1933)
Three Miniatures (1956), for clarinet & piano
Ole BULL (1810-1880)
Saeterjentens Sondag (1848), adapted for soprano saxophone & piano
Ronald L. CARAVAN
Echoes of a Crimson Twilight (2003), for soprano saxophone solo
Lex van DELDEN (1919-1988)
Sonatina (1952)
Eugene BOZZA (1905-1991)
Aria (1936), for alto saxophone & piano
Bernhard HEIDEN
Sonata (1937), for alto saxophone & piano
MARK RECORDS 51608-MCD [71:00]

 

 




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