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Klap Ur Handz / Lark Quartet


Release Date: 10/10/2006 
Label:  Endeavour Classics   Catalog #: 1018   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Peter SchickeleGeorge GershwinDaniel Bernard RoumainPaul Moravec
Performer:  Maria BachmannDeborah BuckAstrid SchweenKathryn Lockwood,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lark String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



KLAP UR HANDZ Lark Str Qrt; Yousif Sheronick (perc) 1 ENDEAVOUR 1018 (60:45)


SCHICKELE String Quartet No. 2, “In Memoriam”: Scherzo. MORAVEC Atmosfera a Villa Aurelia. Vince & Jan: 1945. GERSHWIN (arr. Silverman) Funny Face: Read more class="ARIAL12i">He Loves and She Loves. Lady, Be Good: Fascinatin’ Rhythm. French Doll: Do It Again. Clap Your Hands. Tip-toes: Sweet and Low-Down. ROUMAIN String Quartet No. 5, “Rosa Parks.” Klap Ur Handz REMIX 1


This is the sort of programming a lot of groups are currently doing, mixing up styles and periods, but all with a tilt toward popular American musical traditions. It distinguishes itself from the pack, though, by both a certain savviness of programming, and fabulous performance.


The programming shows a lot of interconnections from one piece to another. Both Peter Schickele and Paul Moravec work with a language that references American lyrical streams, basically Copland and Barber, respectively. Both, however, sound quite authentic, not mere knockoffs of the sources. We’re getting to the point where we can start to hear Schickele as the serious composer he always was, despite the commercial success of his alter ego, P.D.Q. Bach. The only thing remotely 18th century about his Scherzo is a moment of clumping Haydnesque wit, but otherwise it’s full of hoedown energy (happily similar to the fire that powers the first movement of the Roumain). Moravec is a composer who’s never hid his Romantic temperament, and these two tone poems are two of his most affecting essays. Atmosfera a Villa Aureila has the richly perfumed sound one associates with both Griffes and Respighi, while Vince & Jan is a tribute to the composer’s parents, a heartbreaking ode using the song I’ll be Seeing You in All the Old Familiar Places as its cantus (incidentally, it’s inspired by a WW II photograph of the couple, and having seen it, I can attest that the resemblance between father and son is uncanny). I particularly liked these pieces because their open, less-structured form allows the composer’s natural lyricism to come through even more strongly than in some of his larger-scale, more abstract works.


From 21st-century composers who reference the early/mid 20th, we move back to the historical period. The Gershwin arrangements by Stanley Silverman are sophisticated, witty, and can get down and dirty, too. That latter quality is enhanced by the Lark’s sound, which can really dig into the bluesy qualities of the songs. Simultaneously they can make the melodies really “sing”; I’ve been a particular fan of Maria Bachmann’s playing for years, and she can get a dark mezzo-ish sound from her fiddle that grabs your attention immediately.


One of the Gershwin songs is Clap Your Hands , and the first movement of Daniel Bernard Roumain’s fifth quartet is titled “Klap Ur Handz,” in good hip-hop respelling. Throwing himself right into the current sonic maelstrom, Roumain is a multitalented musician (composer, violinist, street pedagogue, arranger, and DJ—he seems to be everywhere in New York right now, with his trademark dreadlocks). He’s a force of nature for sure, and this quartet is rather typical of the sort of classical music lots of folks are writing right now, referencing various sorts of roots traditions. What sets it apart is the seriousness of purpose it projects. The first and second movements (the latter, the Rosa Parks tribute) both rely on ostinatos to propel them, but Roumain tends to favor the passacaglia, which, with its bass-driven cycle, gives more latitude for variety above. As a result, the music’s materials are varied subtly and continuously, growing to real, not forced, climaxes that carry emotional weight. And the piece has the advantage of a serene, soft, slow third movement as an epilogue to the sound and fury. The “remix” basically consists of the first movement with rhythm tracks added, I suspect in hopes that it might work its way into some further airplay and dance floor use.


Hip, but not painfully so. The Larks have good taste in both their collaborators, the works they choose, and integrity with which they program. This is a satisfying program that should play well to any audience.


FANFARE: Robert Carl
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Works on This Recording

1.
Quartet for Strings no 2 "In Memoriam": Scherzo by Peter Schickele
Performer:  Maria Bachmann (Violin), Deborah Buck (Violin), Astrid Schween (Cello),
Kathryn Lockwood (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lark String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; USA 
2.
Funny Face: He loves and she loves by George Gershwin
Performer:  Deborah Buck (Violin), Maria Bachmann (Violin), Kathryn Lockwood (Viola),
Astrid Schween (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lark String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; USA 
Notes: Arranger: Stanley Silverman. 
3.
Lady, be Good: Fascinating rhythm by George Gershwin
Performer:  Kathryn Lockwood (Viola), Deborah Buck (Violin), Astrid Schween (Cello),
Maria Bachmann (Violin), Yousif Sheronick (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lark String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; USA 
4.
French Doll: Do it again by George Gershwin
Performer:  Kathryn Lockwood (Viola), Maria Bachmann (Violin), Deborah Buck (Violin),
Astrid Schween (Cello), Yousif Sheronick (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lark String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; USA 
5.
Improvisation for Piano on "Clap Your Hands" by George Gershwin
Performer:  Deborah Buck (Violin), Kathryn Lockwood (Viola), Astrid Schween (Cello),
Maria Bachmann (Violin), Yousif Sheronick (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lark String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1928; USA 
6.
Tip-toes: Sweet and low-down by George Gershwin
Performer:  Kathryn Lockwood (Viola), Maria Bachmann (Violin), Deborah Buck (Violin),
Astrid Schween (Cello), Yousif Sheronick (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lark String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; New York, USA 
7.
Quartet for Strings no 5 “Rosa Parks” by Daniel Bernard Roumain
Performer:  Kathryn Lockwood (Viola), Maria Bachmann (Violin), Deborah Buck (Violin),
Astrid Schween (Cello), Yousif Sheronick (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lark String Quartet
8.
Atmosfera a Villa Aurelia by Paul Moravec
Performer:  Astrid Schween (Cello), Deborah Buck (Violin), Maria Bachmann (Violin),
Kathryn Lockwood (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lark String Quartet
9.
Vince & Jan: 1945 by Paul Moravec
Performer:  Astrid Schween (Cello), Deborah Buck (Violin), Maria Bachmann (Violin),
Kathryn Lockwood (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lark String Quartet

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