Spontaneous Lines



Spontaneous Lines


Twentieth Century American Music


For Clarinet and Piano




Nathan Williams, Clarinet · Audrey Andrist, Piano








Martin Rokeach North Beach Rhapsody (1991)




Big cities have always fascinated me. Sophisticated, crude, tense, funky, sometimes frightening, always stimulating it is this mood I have tried to capture in North Beach Rhapsody. Although I have lived in or near San Francisco for many years, I had no thought of its famous North Beach section until after the piece was completed. Rather than take the title literally, I'd prefer the listener consider it a symbol of the impulse and energy we find in both big cities and ourselves.




-Martin Rokeach






Martin Rokeach (b. 1953) earned degrees in music composition from San Francisco State University and Michigan State University. His music has been performed throughout the United States, Europe and Australia, and has received honors in eight national competitions, including first prize in the 1998 Cygnus Ensemble competition for new chamber music for guitar, first prize in the CRS composition competition, grand prize in the Delius competition, and a recording contract award from the Society of Composers. His works have been published by Roncorp, Dorn, ALRY, and Fallen Leaf, and, in addition to this compact disc, recorded by North/South, Capstone, and CRS Records. He is on the faculty of St. Mary's College of California, and one of the founders and artistic directors of San Francisco's contemporary music concert series, Composers, Inc.






Robert Maggio Fantasy: Spontaneous Lines (1989)


(Published by Theodore Presser Co.)




Spontaneous me, Nature,


The loving day, the mounting sun, the friend I am happy with,


The arm of my friend hanging idly over my shoulder,


The hillside whiten'd with blossoms of the mountain ash,


The same late in autumn, the hues of red, yellow, drab, purple,


and light and dark green,


The rich coverlet of the grass, animals and birds, the private


untrimm'd bank, the primitive apples, the pebble-stones,


Beautiful dripping fragments, the negligent list of one after another


as I happen to call them to me or think of them . . .




from Walt Whitman's "Spontaneous Me"




Fantasy: Spontaneous Lines was composed for clarinetist Nathan Williams. First sketched in Aspen, Colorado in the summer of 1989, the piece was originally conceived as a set of four unrelated miniature movements. These were later placed into the framework of an extended clarinet solo that makes up the main body of the composition, which was completed in the fall of 1989 in Philadelphia. The various movements are marked in the score as follows:




PRELUDE (clarinet solo): Desolate - Playful




FIRST MOVEMENT (clarinet and piano): Andante con moto, dark and lyrical




INTERLUDE 1 (clarinet solo): Desolate - Playful - Rude




SECOND MOVEMENT (clarinet and piano): Allegro, groovy and ethereal - Andante con moto




INTERLUDE 2 (clarinet solo): Nervous - Strident




THIRD MOVEMENT (clarinet and piano): Allegro, crisp and incisive




INTERLUDE 3 (clarinet solo): Playful - Desolate




FOURTH MOVEMENT (clarinet and piano): Adagio cantabile, rhapsodic




POSTLUDE (clarinet solo)




-Robert Maggio




Robert Maggio (b. 1964) attended Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania, and now teaches theory and composition at West Chester University. His music has been performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Meridian Arts Ensemble, and the Detroit Chamber Winds. Maggio has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Music Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Music Center, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His music is published by Theodore Presser Co., and is also recorded on the CRI label.




Robert Muczynski Time Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 43 (1984)




(Published by Theodore Presser Co.)




This composition is a Suite of four contrasting pieces, each highlighting some specific characteristic of the clarinet in terms of range, technical prowess, color and expressiveness. There are moments when the clarinet plays alone, without need of piano accompaniment; i.e., the final movement is introduced by solo clarinet in a brooding, pensive statement that gains in intensity and momentum and leads directly to the "Allegro energico", a dance-like rondo where the clarinet and piano are reunited. A clarinet cadenza (furioso) emerges. Motives and figures are elaborately developed followed by a final statement shared by both instruments.




The title of the work, Time Pieces, has nothing to do with mechanical clocks or watches. It is not a play on words but rather an awareness of the fact that everything exists in time: history, our lives and . . . in a special way . . . music.




-Robert Muczynski




Robert Muczynski (b. 1929) is currently celebrating his forty-fifth year as a much published and recorded composer. The New Yorker described his music as " . . original and outstanding. One of the few contemporary composers whose works are not merely technical exercises but have something to say."




In addition to his wind compositions he has published some sixty works and received a Pulitzer nomination for his Saxophone Concerto. At the fifth International Piano Competition held in Sydney, Australia in 1992, Muczynski's Second Piano Sonata was unanimously voted Best Contemporary Composition by an international panel of judges.




Sebastian Currier Intimations (1989)




The root of the word "intimation" is "intimate," which has two distinct (although fundamentally related) forms: the adjective which means "close or familiar" and the verb which means "to hint at." The title is intended to describe the intimate dialogue which takes place between the clarinet and the piano and the personal, inward nature of the piece as a whole. But it is also meant to suggest a musical process by which ideas are first hinted at or vaguely alluded to before being stated outright. For instance, when the clarinet first enters it whispers a single note. At its next entrance the single note is revealed to be but the midpoint of a more extended fragment. This fragment then anticipates the forceful outbursts several measures later, and so forth. The process continues. At the conclusion of the piece a waltz-like strain in F major is heard. In retrospect, F major has been hinted at all along, yet there is something about this


fragment of a new tune that suggests that it is not fully born, that it may yet have a life of its own outside the boundaries of the piece within which it is contained.




Sebastian Currier




The music of Sebastian Currier (b. 1959) has been performed worldwide in major cities such as Paris, Rome, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow, London and Toronto. In the United States his works have been performed in Carnegie Hall in New York, Symphony Hall in Boston, Kennedy Center in Washington and Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.




He has received a Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, several awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Friedheim Award, a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Tanglewood Fellowship, and has held residencies at the MacDowell and Yaddo Colonies. Commissions include Fromm Foundation, Koussevitzky Foundation, Barlow Endowment, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, and the American Composers Orchestra. A CD of his works, performed by the ensemble Mosaic, was recently released on New World Records.




He is a faculty member at the Juilliard School and Composer-in-Residence at the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival.




Leslie Bassett Arias (1992)




(Published by C. F. Peters Corporation)




Arias for clarinet and piano was completed in May, 1992, on commission from the International Clarinet Association. The music is often intense, at other times lyrical, urgent, and equally demanding for each performer - a virtuoso recital piece whose movement titles suggest the nature of the music: Impulse, Melisma, Dialogue, Brio.




-Leslie Bassett




Leslie Bassett, the Albert A. Stanley Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Michigan, was born in Hanford, California on January 22, 1923, and lives in Ann Arbor. He served as trombonist and arranger with Army bands in the U. S., France and Germany during World War II, and was subsequently a pupil of Ross Lee Finney, Roberto Gerhard, Nadia Boulanger and Arthur Honegger. Mr. Bassett received the 1966 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Variations for Orchestra, following its U. S. premiere by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra . He has held the Rome Prize at the American Academy of Rome, two Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships, the Naumburg Recording Award, a Fulbright Fellowship to Paris, and was the 1984 Henry Russel Lecturer at Michigan, the University's highest faculty honor. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he has also been named Distinguished Artist by the State of Michigan and by California State University, Fresno, his alma mater. There have been major grants from the Koussevitsky Music Foundation, the Library of Congress, the National Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.




Other recent works for clarinet include the Trio for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, the Fantasy for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble, (both with C. F. Peters Corporation) and Soliloquies for clarinet alone (Merion Music, Presser Corp.)




Nathan Williams




Clarinetist Nathan Williams has been hailed by critics as "outstanding for his musicality, breath control, robust and brilliant tone, and flawless technique" (El Nuevo Dia-Domingo, San Juan), "a highly effective soloist" (The New York Times), and "first-class" (The Boston Globe). Mr. Williams was awarded third prize in the 29th annual International Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition for performers of contemporary music, which took place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in 1995. In July of that year, he was a featured soloist at the International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest at Arizona State University, performing Sebastian Currier's "Intimations" for clarinet and piano. A review in the November/December '95 issue of The Clarinet stated, "Williams' performance of this exciting piece (accompanied by pianist Audrey Andrist) left no doubt as to his nimble technique and beautiful sound." As former associate clarinetist with Continuum, a New York-based ensemble for contemporary music, he has performed throughout the United States and in new music festivals in Prague and Budapest. He has been heard in concert broadcast on National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Austrian Radio Network, NCRV (Dutch Radio), and WNYC-New York.




Mr. Williams received his formal training at the Academy of Music and Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria, where he earned the Artist's Diploma with highest honors as the student of Horst Hajek. He continued his education at the Eastman School of Music as the student of Stanley Hasty, where he received a Master of Music degree, and in 1992, he was awarded the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School. Other teachers have included Robert Listokin, David Weber, Virginia Tillotson, and Raymond Babelay.




He is currently principal clarinetist with the Winston-Salem Symphony and Associate Professor of clarinet at East Carolina University, where his students have distinguished themselves as top prizewinners in competitions at the state, regional, and national levels. He is a member of Strata, a trio with violinist James Stern and pianist Audrey Andrist, the West End Chamber Ensemble, and also performs with the Chamber Music Society of Wilmington.




Audrey Andrist




Canadian pianist Audrey Andrist, first prize winner of the 1994 San Antonio International Keyboard Competition, studied in Saskatchewan with William Moore and continued studies at the Juilliard School, receiving both the Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees as the student of Herbert Stessin. Ms. Andrist has won first prizes in several North American competitions, including the Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition, the Mozart Festival International Competition in Colorado and the Juilliard Concerto Competition. In 1993 she took second prize at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Young Performers Competition.




Ms. Andrist has been heard in concert throughout North America as both soloist and chamber musician. She has appeared as soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall, the San Antonio Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, with which she recently presented the world premiere of a piano concerto written especially for her by Canadian composer Andrew MacDonald. She toured Canada as a result of the Eckhardt-Gramatté win, performing 20 solo recitals in major centers, and has recorded for Summit Records, Albany Records, Well-Tempered Productions and CBC Radio. She is a member of the Stern/Andrist Duo with her husband, violinist James Stern, Strata, a trio with Stern and clarinetist Nathan Williams, and she collaborates frequently with violinist Scott St. John. She currently resides in Stockton, California.




Recorded January 3-5, 1998 at Crawford Recital Hall, NC School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, NC.




Audio Engineer: Dwight Robinett




Cover Art: Steven Hickman · Cover Design: Bates Miyamoto Design




Piano Technician: Bill Huesman




Photo Credits: Nathan Williams (Rowland Harris)




Audrey Andrist (Norbert Brein-Kozakewycz)




This recording was made possible with funding from East Carolina University, and by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency.




Special thanks to Michael Rothkopf and Bill Huesman of the NC School of the Arts, Dwight Robinette, and Anne Dervin.




For more information contact Nathan Williams, School of Music, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, 27858; (252) 328-6916; email:










Spontaneous Lines


Nathan Williams, Clarinet · Audrey Andrist, Piano


Martin Rokeach


North Beach Rhapsody (1991) (7:40)


Sebastian Currier


Intimations (1989) (9:58)


Robert Muczynski


Time Pieces, Op. 43 (1984)


Allegro risoluto (2:41)


Andante espressivo (6:10)


Allegro moderato (2:10)


Andante molto: Allegro energico (5:43)


Robert Maggio


Fantasy: spontaneous Lines (1989) (15:35)


Leslie Bassett


Arias (1992)


Impulse (4:23)


Melisma (3:03)


Dialogue (2:03)


Brio (2:01)




Total Time = 61:32