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Cover Painting: "Urlo" by Ethel Vicard
Graphic Design: Roberto Calzonetti

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Catalog Number: CPS-8658
Audio Format: Stereo, DDD
Playing Time: 72:18
Release Date: 1998

Track Listing & Audio Samples
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    Chianan Yen
  1. Clone for clarinet nd contrabass (7:10)
    Youngmi Ha
  2. By the Blue Shore for clarinet and contrabass (4:21)
    Ji Young Jung
  3. Garak for solo carlinet (7:26)
    John Gilbert
Excursions and diversions
for clarinet and contrabass (4:10)
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    Ronald Mazurek
  5. Maiastra for contrabass and tape (7:49)
    William Toutant
  6. Anagrams and Aphorisms for clarinet and contrabass (11:08)
    Riccardo Sontoboni
  7. Kaddil for solo contrabass (7:40)
    Carlos Delgado
  8. Night Scenes for clarinets and contrabass (13:17)
    Dinu Ghezzo
  9. Eyes of Cassandra for clarinets, contrabass, synthesizer and tape (9:00)


Related Links
John V. Gilbert
Corrado Canonici
Carlos Delgado
Chianan Yen



Australian Clarinet & Saxophone - March 2001 - by Philippa Robinson

"Whilst this CD has all the contemporary clarinet techniques one would expect to hear in this genre, and I must say they are executed to perfection by Roger Heaton, it is the addition of the double bass and the brilliant performer, Corrado Canonici which makes this a truly different experience.

Right from the first track, the listener is drawn to the extraordinary and often quite beautiful sounds which are being produced through the technical dexterity of the players. Composer Youngmi Ha so cleverly blends the timbre of the two instruments in By the Blue Shore that at times it is hard to make an aural distinction. Many of the compositions are written as if to sound improvised. However, it is the freedom of the suggested notation and loosely defined rhythms of Excursions and Diversions by John Gilbert which treats the listener to Roger Heaton and Corrado Canonici's creativity at its very best. In contrast, William Toutant's stylish composition in four short movements Anagrams and Aphorisms is more precisely notated and is not unlike an early two part invention in texture. It features constant interplay between the parts and also shows the performers expertise. The CD finishes with a multi-layered sectional composition by Dinu Ghezzo, Eyes of Cassandra, boasting an array of contemporary techniques on both acoustic instruments and a real smorgasbord of electronically generated sounds.

As a lover of contemporary music I found this CD a real treat! I would however only recommend it to the seriously committed contemporary music listener."


The Bassist - Summer 1999 - by Robin Stowell and Simon Wolf

"Dinu Ghezzo’s Eyes of Cassandra provides the inspiration for the title of this disc. This is a multilayered, sectional work, which incorporates samples elements of music and poetry of several interactive sessions, later manipulated in a tightly controlled structure, with overlapping studio additions. Its semi-programmatic chain of events is skillfully realized in both composition and performance with effective use of synthesizer and tape to complement clarinets and bass.

Youngmi Ha’s By the Blue Shore give vibrant accounts of these works and tackle head-on the virtuosic and creative demands of Chianan Yen’s cleverly worked Clone. John Gilbert’s freely designed Excursions and Diversions and William Toutant’s four brief Anagrams and Aphorisms. Their versatility and instrumental command are nothing short of brilliant throughout. Canonici confirms his position as one of today’s foremost solo bassists in Ronald Mazurek’s Maiastra (with tape) and Riccardo Santoboni’s Kaddil, while Heaton gives an intelligent reading of Ji Young’s three-movement Garak, a solo work inspired by Korean traditional music."


American Record Guide – September/October 1999 - By Moore

"These nine works make up a singularly indigestible collection of abstract styles reminding me of why the avant-garde of the 70s was so difficult to take seriously. When I see a description of a piece as based on “a specific application of the Fibonacci series”, or better, ‘a multilayered sectional composition, incorporating sampled elements of music and poetry of several Web interactive sessions, later manipulated in a tightly controlled structure, with overlapping studio additions”, I tend to become deeply suspicious, particularly when I note that most of the composers are students of the same teacher. There used to be objections to contemporary music stemming from the academic world that had lost touch with its audiences. This disc shows that academicism is not dead, though it is certainly moribund.

I enjoyed William Toutant’s piece, which is relatively straightforward and eschews the shrill screams that characterize Chianan Yen and Ji Young Jung, the grunts and taped annoyances that mark Ronald Mazurek, the shapeless, ugly noises and utterly dry recording of Riccardo Santoboni’s solo bass piece. The dry sound plagues Youngmi Ha’s short number as well. On the other hand, most of the pieces are recorded in a particularly shrieky acoustic that has the high notes rinsing and wringing the ears. The taped nature sounds in Carlos Delgado’s piece are recorded in considerably more lively an ambience than the live instruments and sound more like music to boot. The same goes for Dinu Ghezzo’s piece, where synthesizer and taped sounds do most of the enjoyable things, the live instruments grunting and groaning the while. On the other hand, if the good old-fashioned avant-garde still turns you on, here it is in all its glory!"


20th Century Music - by Mark Alburger

Just how many pieces are there for clarinet and contrabass? Certainly a few, if we can judge from the recent Capstone release, Cassandra, with clarinetist Roger Heaton and contrabassist Corrado Canonici (nice alliteration!)

It starts energetically with Chianan Yen's Clone, with a nice vibrant sound coming from both players. The content has something to do with the Fibonacci series and music-as-DNA-codes, the latter recently discussed in the New York Times. But the music doesn't sound scientific; it sounds ecstatic.

Youngmi Ha, on the other hand, has a stiller, neoclassic take By the Blue Shore, where slow and fast passages vary like the weather on an Eastern afternoon. Ji Young Jung strips these notions down to basics in a solo clarinet Garak, that shares, with Blue Shore, a heightened interest in ornamentation.

In Excursions and Diversions, John Gilbert intends the players to "more or less satirize their own virtuosity." A refreshing notion. The beginning has a bit of ridiculous call-and-response à la one of Crumb's Madrigals. The Stravinsky jokiness of "big and little voices" (the clarinet is big in sound, the bass less so) works. There's a Crumbian bravura (ha! hee! huh!) as well to Ronald Mazurek's Maiastra (Magic Bird), but this time in the Davidovsky Synchronisms tradition of an inventive work for bass and electronic tape. Lots of downward glissandi and vibrato. This is followed by the brief, intriguing Anagrams and Aphorisms of William Toutant, where delicate sounds meet in stimulating interplay.

Canonici proves himself in the same league as Bertram Turetzky in Riccardo Santoboni's virtuoso, tutta forze Kaddil. This is followed by the wonderfully weird Night Scenes of Carlos Delgado for clarinets, contrabass, and electronics. Seagulls and sustains, anyone?

The signature piece comes last, Dino Ghezzo's Eyes of Cassandra for clarinets, contrabass, synthesizer, and tape. Ghezzo pulls out all the stops with funny and threatening sounds galore. The cover shot is of the Greek messenger of doom in full scream, and that's it. Whee! Whew!

From this series of confident performances we turn to the very confident composer Andrea Cavallari and his Self-Portrait, also on Capstone. The American-born Cavallari has lived mostly in Europe, and he manifests a European-oriented modernism that apologies for nothing. The performances from his San Felice Contempoensemble are all magnificent (flutist Michele Marasco, pianists Ju-Ping Song and Michele Innocenti, violinist Adelino Hasani, bassist Canonici, sopranos Gerlinde Samann and Charlotte Zeiher, alto Caterina Calvi). We can tick off the influences of Crumb and Varèse (Fantasia per Flauto), Stockhausen (the solo-piano Selfportrait), and Berio (a Magnificat for two sopranos and altos), but it all comes out rather fresh. Canonici sounds as good here in Achrome as he did on the preceding album — a committed performance of a demanding work.

Ritratti is a virtuosic, energetic scuttering and bubbling for flute and piano; Passages thrashes and emotes out for solo violin. Red utilizes Schoenberg's notion of non-repeating orchestrations in each of its eight brief movements — Pierrot ensemble (augmented by percussion, with viola exclusively) to boot. "Red is... Red, Red, Red" has a good beat and you can dance to it (well, not really, but it is strikingly rhythmic). "Anguish" is a perpetual motion overlain with sustains — the title is perfect. "Red is a Song" is a gorgeous vocalise that recalls the vocal/flute duet in Pierre Boulez's Le Marteau sans Maitre.

A third Capstone album, pianist Richard Crosby's American Portrait is virtuosity in a more traditional vein. His Americans are traditional ones, mostly from a broad mid 20th century (teens to the 80's), beginning with the Roman Sketches (1917) of Charles Tomlinson Griffes. These impressionist-romantic pieces ("The White Peacock," "Nightfall," "The Fountain of the Acquo Paola," and "Clouds") are certainly more Debussyan than Respighian, but the arpeggios and arching phrases work in any language.

A scherzo is the order of the day, beginning Three Pieces (1932) by Amy Beach (a.k.a. Mrs. H.H.A....), and that scherzo is "A Peterborough Chipmunk" which scampers altogether programatically. The following "Young Birches" tremolo in the breeze, with the help of a lovely melody. And "The Hummingbird"? Yes, it buzzes around....

In these contexts, the Lee Hoiby Narrative (1983) — by far the latest work on the album, by a space of more than 40 years — is not a stand out, but a blend in, fitting nicely with the overall mood of the album in its tranquility and turbulence.

William Grant Still, always the surprising master, turns in Seven Traceries (1940). Among the standouts are "Muted Laughter," a polytonal chuckling that relates to Heitor Villa-Lobos, and the solemn intonings that seem to anticipate Messiaen "Out of the Silence." "Wailing Dawn" contains tragic wiffs of birdsong. "A Bit of Wit" seriously brightens the day.

You can't keep a good melody down, and David Guion does his bit to keep the folk tune "The Arkansas Traveler" moving. Unlike Percy Grainger, who used to program Guion's version regularly, I've hung around with too many children over the years not to hear this as "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee." Memorable, with a sting.

Louis Moreau Gotschalk's appealingly rhythmic Banjo (ca. 1855, but not sounding out of place in this 20th-century collection) and the wonderful Prelude No. 1 by George Gershwin round out the festivities.