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A Driving Force

Music commissioned and played by Richard Nunemaker,
reviewed by

Arizona University Recordings    AUR CD 3127

Richard Nunemaker - The Louisville Project - featuring the music of M William Karlins, Marc Satterwhite, Jody Rockmaker and Meira Warshauer. © 2006 Arizona University Recordings LLC

Clarinettist, bass clarinettist and saxophone player (Houston Symphony since 1967), Richard Nunemaker has long been a driving force in the expansion of the clarinet repertoire in the USA. This is his tenth recording project, the third for Arizona, and he is currently working on a sixth solo album. He has commissioned over twenty composers who have produced more than fifty works for him, work that was recognised in 2002 with a Fellowship from the University of Louisville. Here he plays in all the pieces.

This CD features the music of four composers, one of which -- M William Karlins -- died in 2005 at the age of 73. His was a quiet meditative world; Just a Line from Chameleon for two clarinets, a Nunemaker commission in 2001, is typical [listen -- track 7, 8:29-9:33].

Marc Satterwhite (born 1954), a professional double bass player before devoting himself to composition, is Professor of Music at Louisville and director of the Gawemeyer Award. Las viudas de Calama is a searing ten minutes for bass clarinet and piano after a poem by the Chilean poet Marjorie Agosin, dealing with Pinochet's regime of desaparecer, the execution of thousands who disagreed with him [listen -- track 9, 0:00-1:29]. In contrast, his clarinet quintet inhabits fairer ground, with a light central presto [listen -- track 5, 1:12-2:12] and more sombre finale, now a bass clarinet weaving through the elegiac violin melody [listen -- track 6, 2:45-4:11].

Meira Warshauer (born 1949) is represented with a bass clarinet duet, Shevet Achim ('Brothers Dwell') reflecting the more personal family conflicts that arise between Israeli and Palestinian families. The instruments in their lowest registers rise, entwined in turmoil [listen -- track 10, 0:00-1:20].

The youngest composer is Jody Rockmaker (born 1961) who, in his Nunemaker commission of 2000, chose to explore three Marc Rothko paintings with four clarinets. Maroon on Blue begins with striking sonorities and contrasts [listen -- track 1, 0:01-1:15].

Some tracks are rather dry, but the performances are, as can be expected, excellent.

Copyright © 18 August 2007 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Richard Nunemaker - The Louisville Project

AUR CD 3127 Stereo NEW RELEASE 75'08" 2006 Arizona University Recordings LLC

Richard Nunemaker, clarinet, bass clarinet; Dallas Tidwell, clarinet (Rothko Landscapes, Just a Line from Chameleon); Timothy Zavadil, clarinet, bass clarinet (Rothko Landscapes, Shevet Achim); Andrea Levine, clarinet (Rothko Landscapes); The Louisville Quartet: Peter McHugh, violin; Marcus Ratzenboeck, violin; Christian Frederickson, viola; Paul York, cello (Clarinet Quintet); Krista Wallace-Boaz, piano (Las viudas de Calama)

Jody Rockmaker (born 1961): Rothko Landscapes (2000) (Maroon on Blue; Number 7; Abstract Expressions); Marc Satterwhite (born 1954): Clarinet Quintet (2002) (Allegro brilliante; Presto delicato; Espressivo con moto); M William Karlins (1932-2005): Just a Line From Chameleon (2001); Improvisation on 'Lines Where Beauty Lingers' (2002); Marc Satterwhite: Las viudas de Calama (The Widows of Calama) (2000); Meira M Warshauer (born 1949): Shevet Achim (Brothers Dwell) (2001)


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