CHRIS ROGERSON (b.1988): Thirty Thousand Days (Dover Quartet), VALERIE COLEMAN (b.1970): Shotgun Houses (Harlem Quartet), DUKE ELLINGTON (1899-1974): Ducal Suite (arr. David Schiff [b.1945]) (Dover Quartet).
Catalogue Number: 10V060
Reference: DE 3576
Description: Three attractive, distinctly different clarinet quintets, all tonal, that together make up a most appealing programme. Schiff's work comprises transcriptions of four pieces by Duke Ellington, drawn from different stages of his career when he was working with different soloists in his orchestra and exploring different styles. The transition to clarinet quintet is expertly achieved, and in this guise the pieces shed new light on the sheer inventive mastery and versatility of the great jazz composer. The inclusion of Heaven, from Ellington's less well known Sacred Concerts (coincidentally just celebrated in the BBC Proms last month) as a slow movement demonstrates Ellington's range of expression. Rogerson's piece is a 'three ages of man' work, with a youthful dance, followed by a muttering, scurrying scherzo suggesting a stage of life too busy and hard-nosed to care, and then a gentle, reflective old age, full of tender reflection, resignation and love remembered and experienced as the shadows fall. Coleman's title refers to the rows of narrow houses in West Louisville, KY; the work is a portrait of Muhammad Ali, who hailed from that neighborhood, as did the composer. The first movement is full of voluble, boasting swagger, learnt by children on the streets. The tender second, though, portrays Ali's relationship with his beloved mother, and the music is warmly melodic, vulnerable and gentle. The final movement depicts Ali the boxer, training with mounting excitement with rapid-fire assaults on a punching bag, and then his 1960 Olympic title fight, with rhythmically unpredictable punches and feints crescendoing to a final victory. David Shifrin (clarinet).