DAVID MASLANKA (b.1943): Desert Roads for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble, David's Book for Percussion and Wind Ensemble.
Catalogue Number: 05J102
Reference: TROY 1010
Description: In the case of the clarinet concerto there is a degree of intimacy as compared to the huge all-inclusive landscapes of Maslanka's symphonic works, but the music is never shy, retiring or excessively introverted; the composer's exuberant imagination and penchant for bold colors ensure that. It includes a movement in memory of Frederick Fennell, and a final, sober (yet still forceful, fully fleshed out) meditation on death. David's Book allows a composer with a remarkable sense of vivid orchestration the greatest possible scope. The unique bell tones of Tibetan singing bowls add a further element to the sonic palette. As he frequently does, Maslanka makes use of chorale melodies to telling advantage; his trademark suggestions of minimalistic propulsiveness (used economically), and ever-inventive, richly multi-layered orchestral timbres are also very much in evidence. Although resolutely tonal and avoiding any sense of avant-garde experimentation, Maslanka's idiom is so individual, and the works so boldly enjoyable on every level, that the music's freshness and vitality is thoroughly infectious, resulting in that rare commodity; complete originality within a completely recognizable tradition. David Gresham (clarinet), David Collier (percussion), Illinois State University Wind Symphony; Stephen K. Steele.