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Common Ground (11'45") with its unconventional bassoon and violincello scoring, is in three movements; (a) 'Blues Upside Down', (b) 'Trading Places' and (c) 'Igor, At Last'. These titles tell all that's necessary, for in (a) the opening blues motif turns itself around midway through; (b) a lyrical central movement has the two instruments reversing roles and (c) a funky finale derives from Stravinsky's Concerto in D for string orchestra [listen -- track 4, 0:00-0:47].

The piano trio Jazz & Cocktails (12'13") is again just as the title suggests; the three 'voices' bring a hubbub of conversation; monologues, two-part or triangular exchanges; some blurred by distance, others partially or fully overheard. They're characterized by their variety -- snippets of serious, reflective or light-hearted converse -- fundamentally played out in jazz idioms.

Dual Identity (4'08") [listen -- track 6, 3:05-4:04] is dedicated to the soloist Judith Farmer -- former bassoon principal of Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Camerata Academica Salzburg; now principal of Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and tutor at UCSC. Wolfgang's piece shows the instrument in both energetic and lyrical mode.

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Copyright © 29 October 2006 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


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