Chamber Music Northwest is headed by Clarinetist David Shifrin. Its most recent release (DE 3576) available through DELOS is titled Clarinet Quintets for Our Time and it is a testimony to the riches of American chamber music.
The album features three selections each averaging 18 minutes in length, each distinctive in its compositional style, two impeccably played by the Dover Quartet, one equally well executed by the Harlem Quartet, all featuring David Shifrin bringing now lyrical, now sharply piquant clarinet sound to the music of three different composers.
David Schiff’s arrangement of three Duke Ellington tunes here given the title of Ducal Suite is faithful to the jazz idiom in which the original tunes were written, one in 1936, another in 1946, another as early as 1931, and yet another of 1958 provenance. The tunes range from the soulful Clarinet Lament to the pleasantly jittery Rockin’ in Rhythm. The chameleonic Dover Quartet keeps things swinging while playing elegantly with a cool jazz vibe throughout.
David Shifrin remains up front and center for the duration of the walk down memory lane. This listener found the music of Chris Rogerson’s three-partite Thirty Thousand Days hauntingly beautiful in its subtly evocative depiction of a lifetime journey.
Valerie Coleman’s Shotgun Houses pays musical homage to the late Muhammed Ali, depicting three memories of the legendary boxer’s life with music both emotionally charged and elsewhere compellingly rhythmic. The superb Harlem Quartet plays like a dream, with Shifrin comfortably integrating himself into the proceedings.
Shifrin, Rogerson and Ms. Coleman self-produced the three segments of the CD and Rod Evenson and Ben Taylor shard the successful engineering results.
This CD is sure to please the eclectic collector.