Notturno
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Avant-garde yet accessible new music.

This release contains reissues of the Nonesuch recordings from the mid-seventies. For those who remember these recordings, the sound is every bit as spectacular as it was on the original and the playing is breathtaking. Donald Martino is one of America's most important composers. Notturno for piccolo-flute-alto flute, clarinet-bass clarinet, violin-viola, cello, percussion and piano won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1974. The greatness of Martino's music is the manner in which it assaults the ear and the imagination. This makes it such a challenging listen. Andrew Porter described Pianississimo, Martino's exuberant celebration of pianistic possibilities, as "an enchanted journey, through circles where transfigured shades of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Ravel sometimes glimmer, in a realm at once welcoming and strange." The Triple Concerto for clarinet, bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet with a chamber ensemble of 16 players was composed on a commission from the Group for Contemporary Music and dedicated to the composer Milton Babbitt on the occasion of his 60th birthday. About this piece Mr. Martino has written: "After some months of unproductive effort and frustration, I realized that I was being hindered by a conception of the work which prescribed, if not a full orchestra, at least a substantial string section. Since it was impractical to enlarge the ensemble (The Group for Contemporary Music), I decided to enlarge the soloist. Only then did the drama of the work reveal itself to me and its execution became clear. My plan was to transform the three separate clarinets into "Superclarinet," a six octave gargantuan who would use the concerto as a world in which to romp and play with the superfriends."
Contents:
Donald Martino, composer
Notturno
Speculum Musicae, Daniel Shulman, conductor


Donald Martino, composer
Pianississimo
David Holzman, piano


Donald Martino, composer
Triple Concerto
Group for Contemporary Music, Harvey Solberger, conductor, Anand Devendra, Dennis Smylie, Leslie Thimmig, clarinet

Review:
"Notturno was written in 1973 and won the Pulitzer Prize shortly thereafter. It still seems a remarkable creation. Scored for a sextet of winds, strings, piano, and percussion, the many episodes of this mostly-quiet nocturnal fantasy swirl or drift by with a sort of hallucinatory vividness, exquisite detail etched against velvet blackness. This is, despite its atonal language and pointillistic texture, lyrical and evocative music of great sensitivity....The difficulties of Martino's language notwithstanding, there are so many coloristic and textural felicities in Notturno and Triple Concerto that even the scoreless (and sometimes clueless) listener is pleasantly carried along by the play of musical fancy." (American Record Guide)
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