A project across musical and generational boundaries, collage/décollage is the exciting release on Present Sounds Recordings by clarinetists William O.Smith and Jesse Canterbury. Smith, long known the world over for his exploration of other-worldly sonorities, unveils three new works, including the amazing Quartet for Two Double Clarinets. The disc also includes mind-bending world premieres by Seattle favorite Tom Baker and Canadian phenom François Houle. Contact me to order a copy!
Works included on the disc (all world-premiere recordings):
William O. Smith‘s Essay (1995), Variants for Two Clarinets (2006), and Quartet for Two Double Clarinets (1999). The Quartet calls for the two clarinetists each to play two clarinets simultaneously!
Tom Baker‘s Two by Four (2005). Baker’s ethereal work uses multiphonics, circular breathing, and double-clarinets to create a mysteriously compelling sonic world.
François Houle‘s Polestar (2005), in contrast, eschews clarinet pyrotechnics in favor of an intimate, closely matched soundscape.
My arrangement of Eric Dolphy’s Something Sweet, Something Tender. Dolphy’s beautiful music provides a poignant interlude.
Praise from The Clarinet:
“Isn’t track 10 a recording of some kind of flute? Shouldn’t a review of track 5 appear in the Computer Music Journal? What exactly am I listening to anyway? The answer would be that you are immersed in the sonic world created by William O. Smith and friends…Smith’s ever growing and imaginative musical vocabulary is clearly in evidence throughout this recording.”
“Despite the seeming technicality…, when one listens to this work [Variants for Two Clarinets] they forget that they are hearing clarinets and are swept into new and surprising sound environments.”
“After listening to this recording, one is tempted to imagine future clarinetists examining blurry images of figures performing on double-piped instruments. At first glance they might speculate that the image is a depiction of figures from ancient Greek mythology. Upon closer examination, however, they realize that it’s just Bill and Jesse playing their double clarinets, inspiring a generation of audiences and musicians to look in new directions.”
Praise from the American Record Guide:
“Smith and Canterbury are masters at their craft, producing sounds that seem impossible to imagine. They go beyond the usual bag of trick — in addition to microtones and multiphonics, they play half-clarinets, alter their clarinets with corks, Harmon mutes, and PVC pipe, and punctuate the music with tapping, stomping, and vocal interjections…the sounds are amazing and fascinating…”
Praise from an article in the Seattle Times, by Paul de Barros:
“Smith’s Essay, the first piece on the disc, has a light and cheerful feel, with capricious fluttering and twinkling.”
“Variants For Two Clarinets… features half-clarinets, with eerily beautiful flute sounds and a deep, low humming produced by affixing a Harmon mute on the end of the horn.”
“[Francois] Houle’s Polestar … has a poignant emotional touch, as the two clarinetists enact their mutuality, moving gradually apart and back together on the same notes.”
“Smith’s Quartet For Two Double Clarinets has astonishing orchestral heft…given there are “only” four instruments playing.”
The CD release concert, on December 15, 2007, was hailed by de Barros as “one of the 10 best concerts of 2007.”