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Diverse Settings

Cover Design:Fernando Feuereisen

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Catalog Number: CPS-8641
Audio Format: Stereo, DDD
Playing Time: 51:56
Release Date: 1998

Track Listing & Audio Samples
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    Ruth Schonthal
Bells of Sarajevo (9:14)
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    clarinet; Ruth Schonthal, piano
    Ron Mazurek
  2. Satori (6:51)
    clarinet, tape
    Dinu Ghezzo
  3. Sound Etchings (9:05)
    clarinet, piano reverberations
    Eun-Bae Kim
  4. Sounds of Pusan (6:41)
    clarinet, recorded clarinet, tape
    Marc Antonio Consoli
  5. Sciuri Novi III (8:09)
    clarinet, recorded clarinet
    Barbara Jazwinski
  6. Visions (6:22)
    Leo Kraft
  7. No Time Like This Time (5:38)
    clarinet; Rosemary Caviglia, piano


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Esther Lamneck




American Record Guide - March/April, 2000

Esther Lamneck is a fine clarinet player. The pieces on Diverse Settings, and a diverse lot they are, show off her best performing attributes - dynamic and expressive range, good sense of phrase and structure. I'm not sure about her sound, which often comes close to the saxophone, but that may be the recording or my playback system. Compositional high points are Ruth Schonthal's Bells of Sarajevo, a moving ode to the city with long, plaintive lines, and Marc Antonio Consoli's duo Sciuri Novi III, with both parts played here by Lamneck. Pianist Rosemary Caviglia proves an able accompanist, especially in the Schonthal.


Fanfare - May/June 1999 - by Robert Kirzinger

"Esther Lamneck is an extraordinary clarinetist, with exacting control and warm, wonderful tone, from chalumeau to the highest register. She negotiates large skips, microtones, and multi-phonics with the same casual ease, so that none of the difficulties (and there are many) of this music ever seem to affect the expressive intent of her playing. The recorded sound captures all of this well, with the exception of a too-distant piano part in the Kraft work.

Ruth Schonthal's Bells of Sarajevo, for clarinet and piano, is meant to evoke the polarity of that city's beauty and of its tragic history in this century. The music is evocative in two ways: The gestures of Balkan folk song, including its microtones and modes, make up much of the melodic material of the first part, which unfolds in recitative sections. These are interrupted by violent chordal outbursts in the piano, colored by in-strings preparation, which refer to the Sarajevo that was recently a war zone. A Yugoslav lullaby provides the material for most of the second half of the piece. The juxtaposition of these simple, contrasting elements could all too easily cross into the realm of the hyperemotional, but Schonthal avoids this trap. The piece is powerfully expressive.

Ron Mazurek's Satori opens with a metrically free exchange between tape and clarinet, both with chromatic lines of quick staccato notes. There's a "percussion section" within the tape that has a nice Chinese gong sound, but the melodic portion of the tape is an unfortunate, goofy, clarinetlike sound. A clarinet cadenza, improvised, joins the first half of the piece with the second, which uses more sustained notes in both parts but again with no real interplay. The tape part in this section is innocuous both in its sound and its function.

Sound Etchings
by Dinu Ghezzo is for clarinet and piano reverberations-the clarinetist plays into a piano with the sustain pedal secured in the down position. The six-movement piece (allotted one track on the disc) explores a wide melodic range and a number of extended techniques, including multiphonics, microtones, and singing through the instrument. The language is atonal and covers a variety of moods to great effect.

Lamneck plays a duet with her taped self in Eun-Bae Kim's lovely Sounds of Pusan for clarinet, recorded clarinet, and tape. Both clarinet parts are melodically based, largely modal, microtonally inflected lines in imitation or close harmony with some flutter-tongue coloration. The subtle tape part uses sustained bass notes for a projection of depth.

Marc Antonio Consoli's Sciuri Novi III was written to be played by either two live clarinets or a taped second clarinet with live first clarinet. This version has the second part on tape. Far busier than the similar setup in Sounds of Pusan, both parts contain fast chromatic runs and atonal melody (with a jazzlike feel in places), sometimes imitating one another or in counterpoint. The interlocking lines of the two parts result in gorgeous textures and interesting crossing patterns.

Barbara Jazwinski's Visions (1990) for clarinet solo avoids the extensions of timbre and scale found in much of the newest clarinet literature (including that on this disc) while still sounding very modern. Long arpeggios and melodic lines traverse the instrument's entire range, hinting at motivic relationships that are never explicitly stated. This piece shows off Lamneck's "traditional" playing in its full glory.

No Time Like This Time
by Leo Kraft (born 1922) is a good-natured ragtime, full of remembrances of Paul Whiteman or Gershwin but also of Stravinsky. A bluesy central section bisects the more upbeat material. Although enjoyable, the piece seems out of place in this otherwise very modern and serious context.

The only piece I really found trying was Mazurek's, with its poor tape part and the lackluster interaction between tape and soloist. The Kraft sticks out, but it's cute and could be heard as a kind of encore sorbet. Hurray for Esther Lamneck, whose talent and skill were midwife to all but the Jazwinski piece (she nonetheless plays the piece like she owns it). This is a well-done mix of new Robert Kirzinger clarinet repertoire."


Improjazz (French Experimental Jazz Magazine) - by Francesco Martinelli

"Why this record in Improjazz? By the looks of it, it's not improvised, nor jazz. But we are against genre boundaries, plus things are (fortunately) more complicated than they seem. Esther Lamneck is a master clarinetist, who could have carved a nice easy career performing Mozart and Bartok (and she did for a while with great success). But she's a musician above all, and the new exciting worlds of sound opened by John Cage, by free jazz, and by European improvisers changed her choices, and now she devotes herself to teaching and promoting new music (extended techniques, electronic interaction between instruments and real time computer music, music/dance improvisation). A number of composers paid homage to her abilities and her creative powers, here displayed in Diverse Settings, as the CD title explains. Improvisation is present throughout, in conditioned or free environment, and the backgrounds range from folksongs (The Bells of Sarajevo, by Ruth Schonthal) to electronics (Satori, by Ron Mazurek) passin through a prerecorded clarinet score (Sounds of Pusan, by Eun-Bae Kim and Sciuri Novi III by Marc Antonio Consoli) and closing with a glorious solo Ê Visions by Barbara Jazwinski). Dinu Ghezzo's piece Sound Etchings creates a lovely, delicate sound environment having the clarinet play around an open piano, reminiscences of Cowell (and Steve Lacy does that too on occasion); jazz rhythms are very much the basis of No Time Like This Time, by Leo Kraft, where Lamneck hints at her jazz club experiences - she can play a mean clarinet, improvising over the changes with the best of them. Think of lively, vibrant new music, of beautiful clarinet sound with a wide timbral palette and microtonal effects, as Lamneck was influenced by Slavic and Hungarian folk music and she is among the very few performer to use a tarogato, the hungarian wind instrument that's something between a clarinet and a soprano sax, with a non-tempered intonation. (Brotzmann does, but with a completely different sensibility). Varied and enjoyable, this CD will open new perspectives for the curious listener."