WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Barn Dances / Scott Garrison Duo

Larsen / Cartan / Welcher / Scott / Garrison
Release Date: 12/14/2010 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1234  
Composer:  Libby LarsenJean CartanJohn AddisonDan Edward Welcher,   ... 
Performer:  Leonard GarrisonShannon ScottJay Mauchley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Scott Garrison Duo
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $19.98
CD:  $16.99
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews



BARN DANCES Shannon Scott (cl); Leonard Garrison (fl); Jay Manchley (pn 1 ) ALBANY TROY 1234 (71:43)


LARSEN 1 Barn Dances. CARTAN Sonatine. ADDISON 5 Dialogues. WELCHER Reversible Jackets. Read more class="COMPOSER12">NIXON 2 Duos. WYKES 3 Facets of Friendship. WYTTENBACH Serenade. BENNETT Suite. DICKOW 4 Little Duos


“A whole recital of flute and clarinet duets?” you ask skeptically. “Why would I want to listen to that !” Oh, ye of little faith: Here is a disc well worth exploring by anyone who likes music. Period. Shannon Scott and Leonard Garrison have put together an enticing recital of gems, all world premiere recordings, and every one of them a winner. Indeed, most of them will linger in the memory well after the CD changer has moved on to the next disc. Even though the tonal colors available to these two particular wind instruments may be limited when compared to the resources of a larger ensemble, in the hands of these two wonderful artists, more colors are evoked than one might believe possible. The variety of styles represented by the nine composers whose work is featured here also helps, even if all of them are located within the broad spectrum of 20th-century music.


The recital opens with a work by one of the better-known composers of the lot. Libby Larsen (b.1950) to my mind has a strong claim for being the musical heir of Aaron Copland. Her music is quintessentially American, but not only her music: She typically writes on uniquely American themes. Consider, for example, her Holy Roller, a piece depicting the sermon of a take-no-prisoners preacher, or her Four on the Floor, a boisterous romp through boogie-woogie. If I remember correctly, it describes a wild ride in a sports car. Barn Dances, the only work on the CD to use piano, is mainstream Larsen. Each of its four movements takes its name from a particular step used in cowboy dances. “Forward Six and Fall Back Eight” is full of perfect fifths and spiky rhythms. “Divide the Ring,” written as an homage to Gene Autry, suggests the smoke-filled back room of the speakeasy. “Varsouvianna” is a close cousin in mood to the “Saturday Evening Waltz” from Copland’s Rodeo, and “Rattlesnake Twist” is shot through with quickly repeated notes and astringent harmonies. It all sounds very much like, well, Libby Larsen.


The extremely short-lived (1906–32) Jean Cartan provides a very French Sonatine in pronounced contrast to the Larsen. This work is rich in complex sonorities, polymeter, and dramatic flourishes. To these ears, it resembles Honegger about as much as anyone. On the basis of the craftsmanship of this work, I believe that if Cartan had not succumbed to the illness that claimed him, Satie may well have had his Les Sept instead of Les Six.


English composer John Addison (1920–98) is remembered particularly for his fine film scores (I was particularly taken with his score to The Seven Percent Solution ), but the Five Dialogues included here shows another side of his craft. This light-hearted and tuneful work incorporates mild dissonances, but never strays too far from the tonal center of each movement.


I have admired the music of Dan Welcher (b.1948) ever since I encountered his flute concerto and a wonderfully evocative piece called Dervishes on the adventurous Louisville LP label many years ago. Reversible Jackets was written for the wedding of a clarinetist and flutist. Its title springs from the musical lines that are constantly exchanged, inverted, augmented, and contrasted between the two instruments. It is less tonally focused than the Addison work, but would not be considered atonal. The middle movement, “Dialogue,” occasionally sounds as if the two players are on the verge of an argument, which I doubt was in the composer’s mind as he wrote this piece for friends.


Roger Nixon (1921–2009) is known largely for his band music, and is rightfully respected in that area. His Two Duos substitutes the piccolo and E?-clarinet in these very brief (together they last less than three minutes) vignettes. The lines for the two instruments jump around in a playful manner, providing a nice contrast to the other pieces on the disc. Robert Wykes (b.1926) is not a composer of whom I’ve heard very much, but his sweetly sentimental Three Facets of Friendship leaves me desiring to hear more of his work. The three movements are titled “First Affections” (lyrical and tender), “Being Apart” (sadly wistful), and “Reunion” (joyful, although the joy seems somewhat muted).


Jürg Wyttenbach (b.1935) is a Swiss composer likely unfamiliar to most readers. He currently teaches at the Music Academy in Basle, and describes his Serenade as “an attempt at showing existential problems.” That must mean giving titles to the movements that bear scant relationship to the music. There is nothing march-like about the “Little March (in broken steps).” Nor will you hear much of a waltz in “Waltz (in added values and Trio in false unisono).” I guess he thinks he’s being funny when the second movement, “Duettino (in unequal voices),” has the clarinetist doing all the work over a single sustained, sometimes repeated low D in the flute. I guess that gets back at all the flute-clarinet duos (none on this CD) where the flutist has all the fun. Despite all this verbal—or existential—chicanery, I like the piece.


Robert Russell Bennett will surely need little introduction to most readers. What orchestra player growing up in the United States has not played one or two of his Broadway arrangements at some point in his career? Bennett could wear his nationality on his sleeve, as he does here (movements include “Toe Dance,” “Cowboy Song,” and “Low Down Hoe Down,”) but he wears it very well.


The recital concludes with Four Little Duos by American Robert Dickow (b.1949). The composer skillfully interweaves freely tonal and serial techniques using intervallic patterns, trills, and playful gestures along the way.


The consummate artistry and polished ensemble playing of the Scott/Garrison Duo as heard on this disc ought to win them many admirers. Recorded sound is exemplary, but the notes are a bit skimpy. An unused page in the booklet would have easily allowed some expanded commentary on the lesser-knowns. Enthusiastically recommended anyway.


FANFARE: David DeBoor Canfield
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Barn Dances by Libby Larsen
Performer:  Leonard Garrison (Flute), Shannon Scott (Clarinet), Jay Mauchley (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Scott Garrison Duo
2.
Sonatine by Jean Cartan
Performer:  Shannon Scott (Clarinet), Leonard Garrison (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Scott Garrison Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
3.
Dialogues (5) by John Addison
Performer:  Shannon Scott (Clarinet), Leonard Garrison (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Scott Garrison Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
4.
Reversible Jackets by Dan Edward Welcher
Performer:  Shannon Scott (Clarinet), Leonard Garrison (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Scott Garrison Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
5.
Duos (2) by Roger Nixon
Performer:  Shannon Scott (Clarinet), Leonard Garrison (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Scott Garrison Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
6.
Three Facets of Friendship by Robert Wykes
Performer:  Shannon Scott (Clarinet), Leonard Garrison (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Scott Garrison Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
7.
Serenade by Jürg Wyttenbach
Performer:  Shannon Scott (Clarinet), Leonard Garrison (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Scott Garrison Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Switzerland 
8.
Suite for Flute and Clarinet by Robert Russell Bennett
Performer:  Shannon Scott (Clarinet), Leonard Garrison (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Scott Garrison Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
9.
Little Duos (4) by Robert Henry Dickow
Performer:  Shannon Scott (Clarinet), Leonard Garrison (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Scott Garrison Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In