Music for Bass Clarinets
Tim Hodgkinson, Jason Alder, Chris Cundy, Yoni Silver, Heather Roche, Shadanga Duo , Thanos Chrysakis
Duration 57.37 | Released September 2019
- Isn’t This A Time (1982)
Jason Alder (bass clarinet)
Chris Cundy (bass clarinet)
Heather Roche (bass clarinet)
Yoni Silver (bass clarinet)
Tim Hodgkinson (bass clarinet)
- Nuclear Aura (2009)
Tim Hodgkinson (clarinet)
- Γνώμων/Gnomon (2016)
Jason Alder (bass clarinet)
Chris Cundy (bass clarinet)
Yoni Silver (bass clarinet)
Tim Hodgkinson (bass clarinet)
- debris (2014)
Jason Alder (clarinet)
Katalin Szanyi (flute)
- Simulacre IV (1995)
Yoni Silver (bass clarinet)
- Entwined Equinox (2016)
Jason Alder (alto clarinet)
Katalin Szanyi (alto flute)
TOTAL DURATION: 57:37
Recorded live at café OTO in London
on the 10th of December 2017 by James Dunn.
Aural Terrains has acquired permission from the composers and their publishers (where it was necessary) in order to include their works in this recording.
About the Artists
Tim Hodgkinson is an English experimental music composer and performer, principally on reeds, lap steel guitar, and keyboards. He first became known as one of the core members of the British avant-rock group Henry Cow, which he formed with Fred Frith in 1968. After the demise of Henry Cow, he participated in numerous bands and projects, eventually concentrating on composing contemporary music and performing as an improviser.
Jason Alder is a low clarinet specialist and holds degrees in clarinet performance (Michigan State University- US), bass clarinet performance (Conservatorium van Amsterdam- NL), creative improvisation (Artez Conservatorium- NL), as well as post-graduate study in the application of the advanced rhythmic principles of South Indian Karnatic music to contemporary Western classical and jazz music (Contemporary Music and Improvisation through Non-Western Techniques). He is currently conducting PhD research on the sonic possibilities on the contrabass clarinet (Royal Northern College of Music- UK). He is well-established as a performer of contemporary music and frequently works with composers to develop and premiere new works either as a soloist, with his flute-clarinet Shadanga Duo, the Four New Brothers Bass Clarinet Quartet, or in a variety of other formations. As well as composed music, Jason regularly performs internationally as an improviser, electroacoustic musician, and in world music and jazz bands. He is often found performing, lecturing, or on panel discussion at festivals around the world, including the International ClarinetFests, European Clarinet Festivals, Istanbul Woodwind Festival, American Single Reed Summit, Netherlands Gaudeamus New Music Festival, Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, Havana Festival of Contemporary Music, and Leeds International Festival of Artistic Innovation. He is also sought after as a recording engineer for many classical and jazz musicians around Europe. Originally from metro-Detroit, Jason has lived in Europe since 2006 and is an endorsing Artist for Selmer clarinets, D'Addario reeds, Behn mouthpieces, and Silverstein ligatures.
“swirling around the songs was bass clarinet player Chris Cundy, like a birdsong interrupting an argument” - Los Angeles Times
Playing bass clarinet and rarified woodwind instruments Chris Cundy is a composer and performer with a practice rooted in experimental and improvised settings. His work also crosses over into popular music and he has worked with a variety of songwriters and groups including Timber Timbre, Cold Specks (aka Ladan Hussein), Thor & Friends, Baby Dee & Little Annie, and Guillemots.
Growing up in the Medway towns Chris became friends with artist and punk musician Billy Childish who introduced him to the exploits of homemade music-making at an early age. This led to a lasting DIY attitude and by the time he was 12 Chris had already started out as a street performer and busker. After hearing Eric Dolphy's music he took up the bass clarinet. He remains self-taught.
Also a visual artist, Chris studied painting at Cheltenham where he discovered a synergy between drawing practices and improvised music. This led to self-developed playing techniques using multi-phonics, circular breathing, exploring micro tonality and generally speaking a more tactile approach to the instrument. Chris also performs contemporary classical music and has premiered works by Greek composer Thanos Chrysakis. He performs as a soloist and as a member of The Set Ensemble.
He is also involved with theatre music, and recently contributed to an original soundtrack for Florian Zeller's stage play The Mother starring Gina McKee. Chris has performed at Shakespeare's Globe and toured with circus companies NoFit State, and Imagineer.
One off sessions have seen Chris performing alongside Moby, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Lol Coxhill, Vieux Farka Touré, Fatoumata Diawara, Alexander Hawkins, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Lisa Hannigan.
He has released three solo albums, Gustav Lost in 2016 (FMR Records), The Disruptive Forest in 2017 (Confront), and the mini-album Crude Attempt in 2020 (Pressing Records). A further album of acoustic bass clarinet compositions is expected in 2021 titled Of All The Common Flowers.
Yoni Silver is a London based performer, bass clarinetist and multi-instrumentalist.
He works within a wide array of different and mostly experimental frameworks: different forms of improvisation, Noise, (Hyper)Spectral music, Performance and composition. Besides his main instrument, the bass clarinet, he plays on the alto sax, violin, piano, computer, voice and other instruments.
His bass clarinet sound is characterised by unique techniques and ‘instrumental prosthetics’ which he has developed and which have allowed him to shift the woodwind sound palette into the realm of electronics and Noise.
He has appeared on such labels as Creative Sources, Confront Recordings, Wasted Capital, Chocolate Monk, Edition Modern, and has collaborated and performed with musicians Mark Sanders, Tim Hodgkinson, Dylan Nyoukis, Sharon Gal, Hatam/Hacklander, Primate Arena, Thanos Chrysakis, Birgit Ulher, the Israeli Contemporary Players and the Hyperion Ensemble (Iancu Dumitrescu and Ana Maria Avram) and many others.
Born in Canada, clarinetist Heather Roche lives in London. Recently referred to as “The Queen of Multiphonics” and “a figurehead for contemporary music performance practice” on BBC Radio 3, she appears regularly as a soloist and chamber musician at European festivals, including the London Contemporary Music Festival, Acht Brücken (Cologne), Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik (Germany), Musica Nova (Helsinki), MusikFest (Berlin), BachFest (Leipzig), Manifeste (Paris), etc. She was a founding member of an ensemble for contemporary chamber music in Cologne, hand werk, and currently plays with Apartment House (London) and Mimitabu (Gothenburg). She has also worked with the Musikfabrik (Cologne), the WDR Symphony Orchestra (Cologne), the London Symphony Orchestra, Alisios Camerata (Zagreb), and ensemble Proton (Bern), among others. In 2014 she was the recipient of a Danish International Visiting Artist’s stipendium. She is also reviews editor of TEMPO, published by Cambridge University Press, and teaches at Goldsmiths University, London. Her debut solo CD, Ptelea, is out on HCR/NMC, and her CD featuring the clarinet works of Christopher Fox, Headlong, appears on Métier.
The Shadanga Duo is formed of flutist Katalin Szanyi and clarinetist Jason Alder. The duo focuses on the performance of contemporary works, particularly those with complex rhythms, microtonality, and extended techniques. The name Shadanga is a Sanskrit word meaning "six limbs", and in the Karnatic music of South India refers to a structure of the tala system of time keeping. Within the context of Indian art, the six limbs of Shadanga have been translated as: Rupabheda- The knowledge of appearances; Pramanam- Correct perception, measure and structure; Bhava- Action of feelings on forms; Lavanya Yojanam- Infusion of grace, artistic representation; Sadrisyam- Similitude; Varnikabhanga- Artistic manner of using the brush and colours. These concepts also reflect the musical vision of the Shadanga Duo.
Thanos Chrysakis is a Greek composer, musician, producer and sound-artist. He is best known for his work in electronic and contemporary music, free improvisation, and electro-acoustic music.
With several albums to his name his work has appeared in festivals and events in numerous countries, including CYNETart Festival, Festspielhaus Hellerau - Dresden, Artus Contemporary Arts Studio – Budapest, CRUCE Gallery – Madrid, Fylkingen – Stockholm, Relative (Cross) Hearings festival – Budapest, Festival Futura – Crest - Drôme, FACT Centre – Liverpool, Association Ryoanji – Ahun - Creuse, The Center for Advanced Musical Studies at Chosen Vale — Hanover - New Hampshire, Areté Gallery — Brooklyn - New York, UC San Diego – California - San Diego, Berner Münster – Bern, Fabbrica del Vapore – Milan, Grünewaldsalen – Svensk Musikvår — Stockholm, Splendor – Amsterdam, Logos Foundation – Ghent, Palacio de Bellas Artes – Mexico City, Műcsarnok Kunsthalle – Budapest, Spektrum – Berlin, Susikirtimai X – Vilnius, Festival del Bosque GERMINAL – Mexico City, ДОМ – Moscow, Oosterkerk – Amsterdam, KLANG ! – Montpellier, Nádor Terem – Budapest, Utzon Centre – Aalborg, Center for New Music – San Francisco, Västerås Konstmuseum – Västerås, Störung festival – Barcelona, BMIC Cutting Edge concert series at The Warehouse – London.
His music was among the selected works at the International Competition de Musique et d'Art Sonore Electroacoustiques de Bourges 2005, in the category oeuvre d'art sonore électroacoustique, while received an honorary mention in 2006 at the 7th International Electroacoustic Competition Musica Viva in Lisbon (the jury was constituted by Morton Subotnick (USA), François Bayle (France), and Miguel Azguime (Portugal).
He operates the Aural Terrains record label since 2007 where he has released part of his work until now, alongside releases by Kim Cascone, Franscisco López, Tomas Phillips, Dan Warburton, Szilárd Mezei, Michael Edwards, Wade Matthews, Dganit Elyakim, Edith Alonso, Christian Skjødt, Luis Tabuenca, Christian Kobi, Jeff Gburek, Steve Noble, and Milo Fine.
He has written music for musicians of the Hyperion Ensemble, the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, the Konus Saxophone Quartett, and the Shadanga Duo among others. Close collaborations with Tim Hodgkinson, Vincent Royer, Chris Cundy, Yoni Silver, Lori Freedman, Jason Alder, William Lang, Wilfrido Terrazas, Philippe Brunet, Wade Matthews, Ernesto Rodrigues, Abdul Moimême, Ove Volquartz to name but a few.
Orynx— Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg — 06.11.2019
Compositions de Wolff, Dimitrescu, Chrysakis, Kerschbaumer et Aperghis. Interprètes selon les morceaux : quintet ou quartet de clarinettes basses : Alder, Cundy, Hodgkinson, Silver et Roche pour Isn’t This A Time de Wolff et Gnomon de Chrysakis. Hogkinson solitaire à la clarinette pour Nuclear Aura de Dimitrescu, Shadanga Duo, soit Alder à la clarinette alto et Katalin Szanyi à la flûte alto pour gryet.debris de Kerschbaumer et Entwined Equinox de Chrysakis. Yoni Silver seul à la clarinette basse pour Simulacre IV d’Aperghis.
J’apprécie les ensembles subtilement décalés des clarinettes basses chez Wolf, une composition qui découpe et restructure le temps, la durée avec des mouvements amples et verticaux. La Nuclear Aura de Dumitrescu, avec qui Hodgkinson a travaillé il y a quelques années à Londres, est l’occasion de redécouvrir ce musicien à la clarinette en solo. Onze minutes dans lequel il nous fait découvrir le spectre sonore de quelques notes en intensifiant ou altérant la dynamique, glissant très lentement une note aigue ou cherchant d’un seul trait une harmonique secrète. D’un rien, d’un glissement, d’un effort subit surgit une ombre, un cri, une lumière diffuse. Gnomon de Chrysakis, le responsable d’Aural Terrains, est le point de rencontre de notes tenues, de voicings fantômes, d’insistants grasseyements, répétitions d’une note sous différentes attaques… à deux ou trois voix simultanées qui passent de main durant toute l’exécution. Les sons et les timbres flottent dans l’espace tel un nuage en transformation permanente. Je pourrais continuer à décrire cet album singulier. Je veux en signaler la cohérence des compositions les unes par rapport aux autres, complémentant chacune le propos de la précédente sous un autre angle, d’autres impressions. Les deux pièces allouées au Duo Shadanga mettent en valeur la volubilité et les registres secrets des flûte alto et clarinette alto, une combinaison instrumentale à laquelle il fallait penser et qui ouvre un autre champ des possibles et un agréable contraste avec le côté sombre presque macabre des basses. Harmoniques fantomatiques… Quant à Yoni Silver sa maîtrise des alternances d’intensité d’une note à l’autre, d’un staccato précis et soudainement interrompu mettent en valeur les pépiements vocalisés qui s’insèrent mystérieusement dans le phrasé instauré au début de la partition. Le développement d’Aperghis consacre une vision musicale empreinte de recherches sur le langage, la prononciation, syllabes immatérielles qui s’évanouissent...
Dans le prolongement de la série Music for…. – il y eut for two Bass Clarinets and Organs - d’Aural Terrains , un album excellemment conçu, réalisé et vécu avec des musiques de compositeur essentielles. À recommander.
Brian Olewnick — The Squid's Ear — 10.03.2019
This recording documents a concert held at Café OTO in London, in December 2017. The title is oddly misleading as only three of the six compositions use bass clarinets, the remaining three including one for solo clarinet and a pair for alto clarinet and alto flute.
[ Aural Terrains : This release contains some — not all — of the works performed at the concert at cafe OTO in December 2017 that was predominantly a programme focused on music for bass clarinets. The original title of the concert was kept for the CD release. ]
The first track is Christian Wolff's "Isn't This a Time", a 1982 work scored for "(any) sax or possibly other reed, solo or multiple". Here, it's performed by five bass clarinets (Jason Adler, Chris Cundy, Heather Roche, Yoni Silver and Tim Hodgkinson). It's a fabulous piece, expertly played, showcasing Wolff's amazing ability to compose music that seems transparent on the surface but resolutely defies easy analysis. It's slippery. Bass clarinets lend themselves to this approach, their lush, liquid, deep sonorities gliding through the score like fish. Iancu Dumitrescu's "Nuclear Aura" (2009) is played on solo clarinet by Hodgkinson; a good deal of the action does indeed take place in the instrument's lower registers, juxtaposing longish lines, gnarled and bumpy, with briefer squeaks, overtones and chittering. It's an effective and often moving work, reminding this listener, oddly, of the kind of improvisation one might have heard from Anthony Braxton in the 70s. "Γνώμων/Gnomon" (2016), by Thanos Chrysakis, is for bass clarinet quartet (the above group minus Roche). A dark, moody work, the reeds intertwine loosely with stutters to accentuate shifts. There's perhaps even more of a jazz or bluesy feel here, though not overt, recalling some of Julius Hemphill's more abstract compositions, including some eerily beautiful, slightly guttural harmonies towards its conclusion. Impressive piece.
The Shadanga Duo (Alder, clarinet; Katalin Szanyi, flute) perform "gryet.debris" (2014) by Hannes Kerschbaumer, a work that begins astringently with thin, dry tones, then gradually blooms into small flurries of activity and, later, intriguing silences. On Georges Aperghis' "Simulacre IV" (1995) we hear Yoni Silver playing solo bass clarinet. It's an aggressive work, the reed rudely poking around the sound field, snorting, grumbling, belching, but always with a quizzical, slightly humorous aspect, an approach that might remind some of the late Willem Breuker. Finally, the Shadanga Duo (Alder, alto clarinet; Katalin Szanyi, alto flute) returns with another work by Chrysakis, "Entwined Equinox" (2016), a sometimes delicate, sometimes rambunctious but always delightful piece that suggests a kind of vegetal complexity, living up to its title's evocation of twining vines and tendrils, sending off a series of fascinating and complex harmonic sprouts. Along with the Wolff, it was a highlight for this listener, though the entire set is strong and well worth hearing.
Eyal Hareuveni - The Free Jazz Blog - 11.08.20
Music for Bass Clarinets offers six modern compositions, mostly for bass clarinets but also for clarinets and flute, all recorded live at café OTO in London in December 2017. The musicians are experimental composer Tim Hodgkinson, of Henry Cow fame; Jason Adler, currently conducting PhD research on the sonic possibilities of the contrabass clarinet, and half of the Shadanga Duo with flutist Katalin Szanyi; Chris Cundy, composer, and arranger specializing in bass clarinet, saxophones and other woodwinds; Canadian Heather Roche, recently referred to as “The Queen of Multiphonics”; and Yoni Silver, who works within a wide array of different and mostly experimental frameworks: different forms of improvisation, Noise, (Hyper)Spectral music, Performance, and composition.
The first composition is “Isn’t This A Time” by Christian Wolff, written in 1982 “for Saxophone solo (or other Reed Instrument, or more Saxophones, or more Reed Instruments)”, now arranged for a quintet of bass clarinetists. This beautiful composition highlights the deep sonorities of the bass clarinet and the almost transparent, resonating harmonies of the quintet as the sounds of the five bass clarinets are mirrored within the quintet. Iancu Dumitrescu's "Nuclear Aura" (2009) for Hodgkinson on clarinet researches the lower ends of the clarinet and the multitudes of sounds that can be produced in these deep, dark registers. "Γνώμων/Gnomon" (2016) by Chrysakis for a quartet of bass clarinets continues the former composition’s vein, but this serene, contemplative composition does it in a more harmonious, playful manner that explores more nuances in the dark, deep timbral range of the bass clarinets.
Hannes Kerschbaumer’s short "gryet.debris" (2014), played by Shadanga Duo - Adler on clarinet with flutist Katalin Szanyi, has an urgent, restless tone and plays with silence as a major element. Georges Aperghis' "Simulacre IV" (1995) is played with Silver on bass clarinet as a kind of a wild story with colorful, eccentric gestures, sounds, and noises, but with an ironic perspective. Chrysakis’ “Entwined Equinox” (2016), for the Shadanga Duo Adler on the alto flute and Szanyi on the alto flute, experiments with complex, dense and tense texture, contrasting the earthy, wooden tone of the clarinet with the ethereal, celestial tone of the flute.
Wise program of compositions. Excellent performance.