Whether performing music from traditional clarinet repertoire or contemporary works written in the last few years, my goal is the same: to produce interesting musical lines where every note has a purpose and to explore variations in timbral intensity. For the last 10 years, I have specialized in the performance of electroacoustic music and it is in this medium that I feel most at home.
I treat the computer as another musical instrument, one that is capable of performing a vast array of colors and textures. Pieces that are atmospheric in character allow me to find unique ways to blend with the electronics and to shape phrases. Other works that are more rigid in tempo and rhythm challenge me to find new approaches to creating nuance.
The works included on this record demonstrate the versatility of the clarinet and the diverse ways it can interact with electronics. I am thankful for all those who dedicated time and energy to this project and to others who encouraged me along the way. — Andrea Cheeseman
Benjamin Broening – Arioso/Doubles (2002)
Arioso/Doubles was commissioned for Arthur Campbell by the Band and Orchestral Division of the Yamaha Corporation of America. Its title reflects the piece's indebtedness to vocal music and to 17th-century opera in particular. The piece is not meant to evoke the harmonic or stylistic language of early-to-mid 17th-century Italian opera. Rather, the title refers to changing nature of the melodic line that moves fluidly among declamatory or recitative-like passages, short melodic phrases, and longer, more strongly characterized lines. Doubles, a 17th-century variation practice, is extended here to include not only harmony and melody, but timbre as well. — B. Broening
Matthew McCabe – somewhere (2015)
somewhere is loosely based on the e.e. cummings poem "somewhere I have never travelled". The piece is not inspired by the text itself, but a reading aloud of that text, which was recorded and used to craft the pitch materials used in the piece. somewhere was commissioned by the Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival and was composed for Andrea Cheeseman. — M. McCabe
Mark Snyder – Messy (2008)
It is always interesting going into my mother’s studio to see developments in her abstract mixed media/watercolor paintings. There are always new elements, shapes, and brilliant colors of paint drying. During one such visit to her studio when I was younger, I joked about her inability to paint within the lines. She was messy.
Mark Snyder wrote Messy for me and my mother, Lynne Cheeseman. In the video that accompanies the piece, approximately 20 of her artworks are included. Messy was commissioned by the Mississippi Music Teachers Association and premiered at the organization’s 2008 conference. — A. Cheeseman
Kirsten Volness – Ultraviolet (2007)
Ultraviolet was originally conceived as a work exploring ultraviolet rays of light and the concept of radiation from a strong source, namely the sun, highlighting its singeing and nuclear qualities. Sounds used in the piece attempt to reflect these aggressive attributes by maintaining a sense of intensity in the notes, a grating and straining movement pushing and pulling against a feeling of gravity. All sounds were derived from the samples of Lisa Raschiatore on Bb clarinet and bass clarinet and a bit of double bass played by Jacob Richman. Ultraviolet was commissioned by Lisa Raschiatore and ASCAP/SEAMUS. — K. Volness
Judith Shatin – Penelope (2008)
Penelope’s Song is a tribute to Penelope, Queen of Ithaca and wife of Odysseus. It was inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, which tells of the travails of Odysseus, including his ten years at war in Troy and then, due to the sea-god Poseidon’s wrath, ten more years before his return home. There is little focus on Penelope, left waiting for all that time, with many greedy and arrogant suitors attempting to woo her so they could become king. To stave them off she devised excuses. She said she would take no suitor until she finished weaving a shroud for her husband’s aged father, Laertes. But, since she unraveled at night what she wove by day, she made no progress. This piece sings of her, giving voice to her experience and response to her own challenges. The electronics were created from recordings I made of Charlottesville weaver Jan Russell working on her wooden looms. I processed and shaped these, weaving a new sonic fabric, and then treated the acoustic and digital elements as warp and weft of a new tapestry. Penelope’s Song, in the original scoring for amplified viola and electronics, was premiered by Laura Wilcox at the Musica Viva Festival in Portugal in 2003. Since then, I have made additional versions for amplified flute, soprano saxophone, violin, and cello, as well as this version for clarinet. — J. Shatin
Joseph Harchanko – Breath (2005)
Breathing is the focal point of Vipassana meditation, training the mind to focus on one of the simplest and most routine aspects of our lives. Breath, for clarinet and computer, focuses on the beauty of simplicity and reflects the ebb and flow of mind and thought. — J. Harchanko
Mark Phillips - Favorable Odds (2018)
The title derives its name from the fact that the overtone structure of the clarinet has only odd harmonics (frequencies that are 1, 3, 5, 7, etc. times the fundamental pitch played by the performer). It shares this characteristic with square waves and triangle waves. All sounds in the accompaniment have some connection to this sonic signature or to non-traditional clarinet noises. Among the techniques utilized are synthesized triangle and square waves, filtering, granular synthesis, live processing, sampling, and physical modeling. The rhythmic engine in the final section of the piece consists of bass clarinet samples I recorded in my first-ever encounter with the instrument as a "performer," having had no prior experience playing any reed instrument. — M. Phillips
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