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Bazelon: Bazz Ma Tazz, Quintessentials, Double Crossings, Etc / Jonathan Haas, Et Al

Release Date: 02/10/2009 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1089   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Irwin Bazelon
Performer:  James McElwaineWilliam MoerschKeith UnderwoodDennis Masuzzo,   ... 
Conductor:  Jonathan Haas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aspen Percussion EnsembleAspen Trombone Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BAZELON Quintessentials. 1 Double Crossings. 2 Partnership. 3 3 Men on a Discourse. 4 Bazz Ma Tazz. 5 Triple Play 6 Johnathan Haas (perc); 1–4,6 cond; 5 Keith Read more Underwood (fl); 1 Dennis Masuzzo (db); 1 William Moersch (mmb); 1,3 James McElwaine (cl); 1,4 Thomas Hoyt (tpt); 2 Philip Everall (cl); 4 Premawardharra (vc); 4 Matt Donello (perc); 4 Amali Aspen Perc Ens & Tb Ch; 5 David Taylor (b tbn); 6 James Pugh (t tbn) 6 ALBANY TROY 1089 (64:43)

Delivering a eulogy at Irwin (Bud) Bazelon’s funeral, Richard Rodney Bennett said that “Buddy and his music were both totally unpredictable, one never knew what thought was coming next, even if one was familiar with some of his characteristic states of mind. . . . Both the man and his music were profoundly eccentric, in the best and most fascinating sense. He was absolutely uncompromising and entirely original both as a man and as a composer.” One can hear that independent, creative mind at play in these stylistically consistent works in which, as Bazelon said, “Performers are both protagonists and antagonists, sometimes accompanists and other time soloists, and frequently work against each other. Prominence of musical line depends on dynamics, phrasing, contrast, instrumental color and the general character of the score. Jazz elements often appear, marked by special accents and rhythmic variety.”

In addition to chamber music, Bazelon wrote nine symphonies, but not having heard them I can’t say if they’re as little concerned with harmony or polyphony as most of these pieces, in which linear progress is the order of the day: one person plays, another comments, and gradually a movement or mood is established. There’s lots of “air” around the players, but even during the solos there’s a feeling of inclusion, a sense of mutual discovery—these are not monologues. It’s similar to a free jazz approach in which forms evolve through improvisation, but my impression is that these scores are fully notated. While the music is not conventionally melodic, there are some genuinely affecting moments. In different combinations in the various pieces, the contrasting timbres of marimba, flute, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, and percussion—plus the natural structure of the lines—compel attention. As David Harold Cox’s notes to Bazz Ma Tazz tell us, there’s a nervous energy arising from “the juxtaposition of all the rhythmic elements possible within the metronomic frame. The result is a challenging rhythmic idiom, wide-ranging in the content and the diversity of mood it can create.” Challenging and quirky, Bazelon’s music comes spontaneously alive in these enthusiastic performances. As Monty Python put it, “and now for something completely different.”

FANFARE: Robert Schulslaper
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Works on This Recording

Quintessentials by Irwin Bazelon
Performer:  James McElwaine (Clarinet), William Moersch (Marimba), Keith Underwood (Flute),
Dennis Masuzzo (Double Bass), Jonathan Haas (Percussion)
Conductor:  Jonathan Haas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aspen Percussion Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983; United States 
Length: 13 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Partnership by Irwin Bazelon
Performer:  William Moersch (Marimba), Jonathan Haas (Timpani)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980 
Length: 8 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Bazz Ma Tazz by Irwin Bazelon
Conductor:  Jonathan Haas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aspen Percussion Ensemble,  Aspen Trombone Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993; USA 
Length: 11 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Triple Play by Irwin Bazelon
Performer:  James Pugh (Tenor Trombone), David Taylor (Bass Trombone), Jonathan Haas (Percussion),
James Pugh (Trombone), David Taylor (Bass Trombone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977; USA 
Length: 11 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Double Crossings for Trumpet and Percussion by Irwin Bazelon
Performer:  Thomas Hoyt (Trumpet), Jonathan Haas (Percussion)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976 
Length: 11 Minutes 7 Secs. 

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