GEORGE OAKLEY (b.1979): Cello Sonata, 4 Songs on Shakespeare Sonnets for Mezzo-Soprano and Piano, Remembrance for Clarinet and Piano, Solo Piano: Sonata-Fantasia, Toccata.
Catalogue Number: 11U076
Description: Despite his name, George Oakley was born in Tblisi, Republic of Georgia. After completing his early studies in his native country, he moved to the USA, where he now lives. The influence of Georgian folk music can be felt in the melodic contours of his treatment of themes in the Cello Sonata and the Sonata-Fantasia, but for the most part his idiom is western and neo-romantic, with jazz syncopations and harmonies here and there, as in the energetic, appealing little Toccata; and the first movement of the Cello Sonata has more than a whiff of Debussy and Ravel. This work is substantial, in three movements, progressing from a sense of struggle, very chromatic, via a feeling of determination in the first movement to a long line of prayerful melody against a background inspired by Orthodox church bells, to a jubilant finale. Oakley more than rose to the challenge "as a non-native English speaker" of setting Shakespeare in works of unusual diversity and internal variety of mood, to match the sheer density of emotional colors in the texts. The 15 minute Sonata-Fantasia is a virtuosic showpiece for Oakley's own instrument, in a sonata-like sectional structure within a single span. Texts included. Naomi Louisa O’Connell (mezzo), Anton Rist (clarinet), Lizi Ramishvili (cello), Inga Kashakashvili, Angelina Gadeliya, Tamar Mikeladze (piano).