PRICE: Clariphonia; 3 Faces of Kim; Mesuree Mexicana; Crossroads Alley Trio; RAVEL: Piece en forme de habanera; DRING: 3-Piece Suite; KUBIK: Sonatina; SHAPIRO: Trio; RIMSKY-KORSAKOFF: Flight of the Bumblebee
Price Duo; Nancy Roth, v; Church of the Lighted Window Chamber Orchestra
Cambria 1125-66 minutes
The Price Duo is a mother and son team-she the pianist and composer, he the clarinetist. The title work Clariphonia (the only work here with chamber orchestra) is so named for its use of the A clarinet, E-flat soprano, E-flat Contrabass, and Basset Horn. In general I find it and Ms Price’s other pieces inventive and entertaining-quite charming and appealing, making use of mixed meter and taut rhythmical gaiety while in no way neglecting those things we like so much about music, such as melody. I would be delighted to sit down at a clarinet recital and hear this music.
But aside from a sharply rendered clarinet trio by Alex Shapiro and a sweetly sung suite by Madeleine Dring, the rest left me rather cold. Gail Kubik’s Sonatina is a bit of a bore, and Ravel’s Piece–really second drawer from him, despite the thousand and one instrumentalists and singers who insist on keeping the wretched thing alive–has to be played with more seductiveness and rhapsody than Mr Price gives it here. The encore Bumblebee is unnecessary–we have all heard it a million times before, and once was enough for most of us.
The Price Duo is very good. She has a lot of pianistic chops and knows what it takes to put this music across, while he strikes me as supremely competent, but without any outstanding characteristics. Still, there are far more players who cannot play at this level. The recital has problems, but most of them lie in the nature of the music. What I liked I really liked, and the bad amounts to about 17 minutes. Excellent sound.
Reviewed by Steven E. Ritter
American Record Guide November/December 2001