Bringing it All Together

The Louisville Project (Arizona University Recordings)
Richard Nunemaker

By Daniel Gilliam

Richard Nunemaker's new CD, released by Arizona University Recordings, presents works composed since 2000 and recorded (mostly) in Louisville during 2003. This recording is dedicated to the memory of M. William Karlins, one of the composers featured on the disc and one who was present at the recording of one of Nunemaker's works.

Rothko Landscapes by Jody Rockmaker is meant to be a musical realization of Rothko paintings and utilizes quite a few extended techniques. Rockmaker's use of visual allusions doesn't impede or help the listener, as the music stands on its own.

Marc Satterwhite's two offerings Clarinet Quintet (2002) and Las viudas de Calama (The Widows of Calama) use the clarinet in a more melodic way than other works on this disc. The Clarinet Quintet, scored for string quartet and clarinet (B-flat and bass), is a compelling work with long phrases and a scoring that is always careful and delicate. Las viudas de Calama is based on a poem of Marjorie Agosin, a Chilean writer, describing the atrocities of the Pinochet regime in a city called Calama, situated in the Atacama Desert. Agosin's chilling prose, which seems particularly relevant in light of the recent death of Pinochet, is translated into a work for bass clarinet and piano.

Karlins' work is characterized by long phrases and soft dynamics, requiring skillful breathing and careful articulation. Just a Line from Chameleon makes proud of the fact that it is composed "in registers of the instrument that are difficult to control at a soft dynamic level." Improvisation on "Lines Where Beauty Lingers" is based on a jazz tune by Ron Thomas.

Meira M. Warshauser pairs two bass clarinets against each other, describing tensions and commonalities (past and present) between the descendants of Ishmael (Palestinians) and Isaac (Israelis). The title Shevet Achim (Brothers Dwell) is taken from Psalm 133, v. 1 "How good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell together as one."

The recording features Andrea Levine, Dallas Tidwell and Timothy Zavadil, clarinets; The Louisville Quartet (Peter McHugh and Marcus Ratzenboeck, violins; Christian Frederickson, viola; Paul York, cello) and Krista Wallace-Boaz, piano.

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