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Monday, October 8, 2012

Andrew Violette, Sonatas for Cello and Clarinet

Andrew Violette didn't make a pact with the devil before he produced his Sonatas for Cello and Clarinet (2011) (Innova 832), but he may have engaged in some extra-spiritual scrimmaging on the astral plane with Ives, Messiaen and Hindemith before he penned the sonatas.

It's not that he is imitating any of them. No. But his use of chromaticism, bi-tonality, atonality and juxtaposition of vernacular with avant garde elements owes something to the way they proceeded compositionally, all things considered.

That is not to take away from Andrew Violette's musical personality, which comes through with strength and originality on these pieces. It is only to suggest that he belongs in a lineage that has these three composers as forebears.

We get eight brief to relatively brief movements for the Sonata for Cello and Piano, played by Ben Capps on cello, one long movement for the Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, with Moran Katz on clarinet. The composer tackles the piano part on both sonatas. The performances are very lively and match the expressiveness of the music squarely and vividly. These are players at the top of their game, playing music that suits them well.

And the music is quite engaging. It is filled with a very individual quality, and has a presence and melodic dynamic that is unforgettable. Here we have two modern gems from a formidable composer of today. Those with contemporary ears, take heed!

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