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Chamber music by David Crumb: 'Red Desert' / Fritz Gearhart, violin; Corey Hamm, piano; Jerome Simas, clarinet; Steve Vacchi, bassoon

Album Summary

>Crumb, David : September Elegy, for violin & piano
>Crumb, David : Soundings, for clarinet, bassoon & piano
>Crumb, David : Red Desert Triptych, for piano
>Crumb, David : Primordial Fantasy, for piano & chamber ensemble
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

David Crumb was born into a musical family. His father is renowned composer George Crumb, and his sister, Ann Crumb, is a highly regarded singer and actress. Crumb studied composition under Samuel Adler, Jay Reise, Richard Wernick, Stephen Jaffe, and Chinary Ung, receiving a fellowship from the Tanglewood Music Institute where he attended master classes by Lukas Foss and Oliver Knussen. Shortly thereafter, he traveled to Jerusalem, to study composition and counterpoint with Mark Kopytman. David Crumb joined the music faculty at the University of Oregon in 1997, where he continues to serve as an Associate Professor of Composition and Theory. This CD presents four of Crumb's compositions spanning the past two decades.

American Record Guide, September/October 2015
David Crumb (b. 1962) is George's son. The work can be quite beautiful and expressive. September Elegy (2001), for violin and piano, began as an independent dirge and turned into an homage to the victims of 9-11. It is built as an appropriately sad song. Soundings (1994), a trio for clarinet, bassoon, and piano, is, like all the music on this program, a development of its initial idea. The outer sections are quiet and thoughtful, the central one more playful. The Red Desert Triptych consists of three separate pieces for solo piano inspired by Utah's beautiful arid landscapes.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Beall Hall, Univeristy of Oregon School of Music and Da (12/13/2011).



Reviews

Intuitive, engaging music
"Red Desert" presents four world-premiere recordings by David Crumb. Crumb is a self-professed intuitive composer, letting the music take him where it will. It gives his work a spontaneity that's quite attractive. To my ears, Crumb's style seems post-tonal. That is, he's not afraid of using triads and consonant harmonies, but he's also not bound to use them traditionally.

"September Elegy" is an evocative work for violin and piano. Commissioned in 2001 by violinist Fritz Gearhart (who performs it here), Crumb incorporated his reaction 9/11, giving the work a powerful emotional center, with wide-open intervals and poignant half-step turns in the melody.

In "Soundings," for clarinet bassoon and piano, Crumb (according to the liner notes) wanted to write idiomatically for the clarinet and bassoon. He succeeded. Each instrument has its own character, with the music thoroughly integrated into the technical demands of the instrument. Occasionally I was reminded of Stravinsky though -- especially when the bassoon was playing in its highest register.

The most substantial work on the album is "Red Desert Tryptych." Crumb calls it a symphony for solo piano, inspired by visits to southwestern parks. Its aptly titled. The music has a big, open sound to it. There are plenty of thick, shimmering chords and cascading runs -- but its all for a purpose. Crumb captures the essence of the grandeur of big sky country. Marcantonio Barone (who premiered the work) performs Red Desert with Úlan, and a technique that makes the big gestures sound big, but not overblown.The final work on the album,

"Primordial Fantasy" is an interesting one for solo piano and chamber ensemble. And it's the least tonal composition of the four. One instrument after another rises out of the swirling primordial ooze of sound as its melody takes form. Then it sinks back, replaced by another.

Most reviews will lead with something I chose to omit -- David Crumb's father. That's because David's music has its own character and can stand on its own. I found these works quite compelling and well-crafted. This album persuaded me I need to further explore David Crumb's catalog.
Submitted on 07/30/15 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Crumb, David : September Elegy, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Fritz Gearhart (Violin); Corey Hamm (Piano)
  • Conductor: Robert Ponto
  • Running Time: 13 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2001

>Crumb, David : Soundings, for clarinet, bassoon & piano
  • Performers: Corey Hamm (Piano); Jerome Simas (Clarinet); Steve Vacchi (Bassoon)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1994

>Crumb, David : Red Desert Triptych, for piano
  • Performer: Marcantonio Barone (Piano)
  • Running Time: 35 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2006-2011

>Crumb, David : Primordial Fantasy, for piano & chamber ensemble
  • Performers: Marcantonio Barone (Piano); Pius Cheung (Percussion); Louis DeMartino (Clarinet); Kathryn Lucktenberg (Viola); Melissa Pena (Oboe); Steven Pologe (Cello); Lydia VanDreel (Horn); Sean Wagoner (Percussion); Laura Zaerr (Harp)
  • Conductor: Robert Ponto
  • Running Time: 8 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2002