, January 2013
The disc opens with a short chamber work Night Fantasy by Dorothy Rudd Moore. It is a wonderfully evocative work conjuring up the spirit world. The clarinet first of all weaves a beautifully simple tune in the first movement, Largo, and then, with spiky rhythms, dances Puck-like in the second effusive and sparkling Allegro. The second short piece is taken from a larger chamber work and was arranged by the composer for clarinet and piano. It is a wonderfully playful piece in which both the clarinet and piano duet, almost mirroring each other in every note.
Clarence Cameron White’s Basque Folk Song is a wonderfully descriptive piece with a simple beauty that is enchanting.…Undine Smith Moore’s Introduction and Allegro is another delightful work that, like the others, though short in length, makes up for it in the wealth of ideas within its brief span.
A complete change of tempo comes next with Quincy Hilliard’s Coty which is in three short movements. It is a gorgeous song without words that allows the clarinet fully to exploit its most attractive notes with a lovely piano accompaniment.
Soul Bird by Todd Cochran is beautifully soulful. It perfectly captures the nature of a bird as the clarinet awakes and flies around against the background of the piano before finally resuming its sleep.
The final piece on the disc is a really attractive arrangement of Amazing Grace attributed to H. Stevenson about whom nothing is written in the notes and about whom I could find nothing anywhere. The arrangement brings out the best elements of the tune and allows you to hear it afresh in a charming display of the clarinet’s attributes.
Marcus Eley has done a great service to African-American composers. He is a brilliantly talented advocate for his instrument who successfully exploits everything a clarinet can do while Lucerne DeSa is an extremely sympathetic partner. Together they have created a disc of unalloyed joy. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review