DELOS has just released SPRING FORWARD, a CD of music for Clarinet and String Quartet made most unusual by the involvement of three different composers: Peter Schickele, Richard Danielpour, and Aaron Jay Kernis; three string quartets: the Miro Quartet, the Dover Quartet, and the Jasper Quartet, and one clarinetist: David Shifrin.
As for the treasure trove of music, first of all kudos to Peter Schikele who in his five movement suite, Spring Forward brings to life a bucolic Spring and Summer landscape injected with lighthearted humor – this from the irrepressible PDQ Bach, Schickele’s other self. But, as if in between the lines of a boy’s summer letter to his family, there is just a tinge of melancholy in the melodic turns of phrase in this lovely composition.
Richard Danielpour’s The Last Jew in Hamadan is a profoundly elegiac work redolent of the displacement felt by Iranian-born Jews who, like the composer himself, had to abandon the land of their birth. Its first movement is, as marked, agitated and urgent. The second movement depicts a coming of age and acceptance of the inevitable. Throughout we hear hints of Eastern melodic strains.
Perpetual Chaconne by Aaron Jay Kernis establishes a quiet dialogue between the solo clarinet of David Shiffrin and the accompanying Jasper String Quartet in what is neither harshly dissonant nor conventionally tonal. Straddling both these sonic worlds, the composition sustains our interest by subtle changes of tempo within the parameters of its 18th century-inspired Chaconne.
The Miro Quartet in Spring Forward, the Dover Quartet in The Last Jew in Hamadan, and the Jasper Quartet in Perpetual Chaconne and David Shifrin’s clarinet in all three compositions play gorgeously with all their hearts and minds as one.
Additionally involved in the project Phoenix Chamber Music Society, Yale School of Music, Chamber Music Northwest, and Backun Musical Services deserve credit for the superb production and engineering by Ben Taylor for Miro/Schickele, Rod Evenson for Dover/Danielpour, and Matthew Lefevre for Jasper/Kernis.
And to DELOS much gratitude for continuing to delight us by thinking outside the box.
Rafael de Acha http://www.RafaelMusicNotes.com