Vox Terra - Music for the Clarinet with a Global Focus
Redshift Records TK 425 www.redshiftmusic.org
“Vox Terra,” a disc featuring Vancouver-based clarinettist Cris Inguanti, is a satisfying collection of mostly recent works for the instrument in a variety of settings.
Unaccompanied in the earliest work, Joan Tower’s Wings (1981), Inguanti includes duos, a trio, a quartet and a highly effective work with electronic interface and pre-recorded sound. His collaborators include two of the composers featured, as well as the fine Marie Julie Chagnon in the clarinet duo by Michael Tenzer, and pianist Corey Hamm on three of the thirteen tracks.
At first blush the album’s subtitle, Music for Clarinet with a Global Focus, seems to stretch a point. Only two composers presented hail from outside of North America. New York and Western Canada are well-represented, and Toronto’s own David Occhipinti plays guitar in his own Arts and Letters. But before anyone takes this apparent geographic exclusivity too much to heart, they ought to pay attention to the liner notes, most written by the composers themselves. Balinese, Bolivian and Balkan influences can reasonably be claimed, though at least in Tower’s case, South American rhythmic character is subsumed into her own very personal voice.
More to the point is the refreshing listenability and humour of the collection. The strengths of the various pieces, and the fine musical performances given them, atone for the absence of any music emerging from Asia and Africa. With the exception of the final track there is nothing tremendously “avant-garde” or difficult for the listener to prepare for, and a good deal of sheer simple pleasure to be had nodding along to Michael Lowenstein’s Ten Children #3. Wait before giving up on track 13. Nicola Resanovic saves some delightful surprises for those who suspend the wish to turn off the clamour of the opening electronic sequence.