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Sea and Sky | Sassicaia

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Classical: Contemporary Classical: Chamber Music Moods: Type: Instrumental
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by Sea and Sky

Sea and Sky is a duo comprised of François Houle and Jane Hayes, two exceptional musicians who are dedicated to discovering and expanding the repertoire and the sound world of clarinet and piano.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Second Duo
3:40 $0.99
2. Nocturne, Op. 26
6:53 $0.99
3. Duotone
6:13 $0.99
4. Bliss Point
5:45 $0.99
5. Traffic
1:37 $0.99
6. Sassicaia
9:49 $0.99
7. Cyclone
2:07 $0.99
8. Eternal Return of a Ritual Form
17:54 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Sea and Sky is a duo comprised of François Houle and Jane Hayes, two exceptional musicians who are dedicated to discovering and expanding the repertoire and the sound world of clarinet and piano. Of the eight pieces of Canadian music on this disc, five have been composed especially for the distinctive qualities and adventurous spirit of the new duo. The three already existing works are jewels of the Canadian repertoire – the playful Second Duo (1998) composed by Anthony Genge, the extraordinary Sassicaia (1981) by Bruce Mather, and the elegant and finely shaped Nocturne (1977) by Jacques Hétu.
Taking its name from a rich and evocative work by the late Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe, Sea and Sky references a duality and also reveals a singularity. Here are two awesome aspects of the natural world that preserve their own powerful identity, and yet meet in the perspective of the horizon. As if in response, the music exhibits polarities of character and transcendental moments of integration. Inspired by the exploratory spirit of the duo and their alchemical range of expression, the commissioned composers present a continuum from extreme intensity to intimate subtlety. The approach to writing for clarinet and piano on the disc is widely varied. At times the music exhibits traditional artful melody with nuanced harmonic accompaniment, and at other times ingenious new approaches including altered piano, extended techniques on clarinet, and the full capability of pre-recorded tape. Throughout, the individual and ensemble characteristics of the musicians are present – from the improvisational flair, flying solos and invented duotones of François Houle; the poetic mastery, fierce power and musical depth of Jane Hayes; to the fused interpretation and brave new worlds of clarinet and piano.
In lieu of program notes, here are some keywords and definitions that represent the individual works. Quotations indicate comments or individual words from the respective composers.
Nocturne Op. 26 (1977) Jacques Hétu
Definition: The nocturne is a character piece that evokes the beauty and mystery of the night. Hétu’s Nocturne is a masterpiece of melodic line, harmonic nuance and organic development, unveiling with striking clarity the expressive qualities of clarinet and piano.
Keywords: lyrical, dark, dignified, night, classic, meditative, stretching

Cyclone (2014) Keith Hamel
Definition: “Cyclone is a short, aggressive and incessant composition that depicts the energy and intensity of a cyclone.”  
Keywords: “dense, powerful, instable, cyclical, storm, vortex”

Bliss Point (2014) Gordon Fitzell
for Clarinet and EBow Piano
Definition: “In economics, food product formulation and many other enterprises, the term bliss point refers to an optimal quantity of consumption beyond which any further increase would diminish quality.”
Keywords: EBow, tone, purity, spectra

Traffic (2014) Jacqueline Leggatt
Definition: “Traffic originally meant trade, as it still can. It comes from an old Italian verb whose original meaning is lost.  Some believe the origin is Catalan, meaning to decant, or Arabic, meaning distribution or seek profit.  The most common meaning, of course, is the movement of vehicles, animals, birds or people.” 
Keywords: “intersection, wind, water”, spasmodic, prepared piano, slap tongue,

Second Duo (1989) Anthony Genge
Definition: “Originally a compositional technique used in Medieval music, a hocket was described at the time as a sort of music sounded in a broken way by actual sounds and their omission.”
Keywords: “hocket, hiccup, asymmetrical, dance-like, fused, unison, strange, angular, hyperkinetic, Messiaen” 

Duotone (2014) Owen Underhill
Definition: a technique of otherworldly quiet split clarinet tones developed by François Houle, a method of printing an illustration in two shades of the same colour or in two different colours.
Keywords: duotone, harmonics, chorale, dance

Eternal Return of a Ritual Form (2014) Paul Dolden
For pre-recorded tape, Bb clarinet and piano
Definition: “The challenge as a composer is to be hypnotic but not boring! In this work, there is a rhythmic and melodic repetition that begins to feel ritualistic. This musical ritual begins slowly and accelerates into a frenzy of activity. The repetition is intended to create a hypnosis that keeps ringing on in the ear after the final broadband noise tries to obliterate it.”
Keywords: epic, pre-recorded tape, drum solo, hypnosis, engage

Sassicaia (1981) Bruce Mather
Definition: a deep and sought after Super Tuscan wine developed in the early 1940s by Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta in the Bolgheri Tuscany subzone, the name Sassicaia (Italian sasso meaning stone) indicating the gravely vineyard site. 
Keywords: microtones, attack, control

Composer Biographies
PAUL DOLDEN (b. 1956)

Paul Dolden has been a full-time composer for 30 years producing electroacoustic works and works for electronics and live instrument(s). Over the last few years, he has completed commissions for: Phoenix Orchestra (Switzerland), Stockholm Sax Quartet (Sweden), Sinus-Ton Festival (Germany), François Houle (Canada), Ensemble Ars Nova (Sweden), Lukasz Gothszalk (Trumpet, Poland) and Maurizio Grandinetti (Guitar, Italy). He has four solo CDs on Empreintes Digitales and has a new CD on Starkland Records (U.S.A.) which is distributed by Naxos and entitled "Who Has the Biggest Sound?"


Canadian composer, performer and multimedia artist Gordon Fitzell has worked with many outstanding ensembles including the Norwegian group BIT20 Ensemble, Brazil’s PianOrquestra, the pan-Canadian Ensemble 1534, and American sextet eighth blackbird, whose multiple Grammy-winning album strange imaginary animals features two of his works. In addition to concert music, Fitzell has presented multimedia installations in North America and Europe. Currently an Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba Desautels Faculty of Music in Winnipeg, he also serves as Artistic Co-Director of the Winnipeg new music organization GroundSwell.


Born in Vancouver, Anthony Genge studied composition with Morton Feldman, Bruce Mather, Rudolf Komorous, and Jo Kondo. Genge’s music is characterized by its distinctive harmonic language, elegant orchestration, and postmodern mix of musical elements. Many of his works are available on recordings, and have also been used for film and dance. Genge maintains an active career as one of Canada’s leading jazz pianists, and currently divides his time between Victoria, B.C. and Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where he is Professor of Music at St. Francis Xavier University.

KEITH HAMEL (b. 1956)

Keith Hamel is a Professor of Composition and Director of the Computer Music Studio at the University of British Columbia. His works have been performed by some of the finest ensembles and soloists in Canada and abroad.  He has received commissions from IRCAM (Paris), the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Vancouver New Music Ensemble, the Elektra Women's Choir, musica intima, New Music Concerts (Toronto), and he has worked with outstanding performers such as Robert Aitken, Jean-Guy Boisvert, François Houle, Jeremy Berkman, Benny Sluchin, Jane Hayes, and Corey Hamm. 

JACQUES HÉTU (1938 – 2010)
Jacques Hétu gave priority to poetry, emotion and to coherent discourse; he was also sensitive to the plastic aspects of sonority and the structural rigour of his contemporaries. Within traditional forms, he arranged elements in a cyclical manner based on the affirmative force of the thematic material, rigorous writing and the requirement for unity. Hétu was commissioned by many leading Canadian artists and ensembles, including James Campbell, André Laplante, Robert Silverman, the Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton Symphonies and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

In addition to her chamber works, Jacqueline Leggatt’s oeuvre includes collaborative works with language poets Catriona Strang, Nancy Shaw and Christine Stewart at the Institute for Domestic Research. Her work has been performed in New York, Paris, San Diego, Italy, and throughout Canada including commissions by The Turning Point Ensemble, Vancouver New Music Society and Standing Wave Ensemble. Awards include first prize in the Jean Coulthard Competition and a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship. Jacqueline Leggatt is presently Head of Theory at the Vancouver Academy of Music.

BRUCE MATHER (b. 1939)
Bruce Mather is considered one of Quebec`s most important composers. He studied composition with Oskar Morawetz, Godfrey Ridout, and John Weinzweig, and worked in France with Darius Milhaud, and Olivier Messiaen (analysis). Mather has been commissioned by many leading orchestras and contemporary music organizations at home and abroad, including the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Radio France, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, Toronto New Music Concerts, the Esprit Orchestra, and 2e2m (Champigny). He taught composition, analysis and harmony at McGill University from 1966 - 2001.

Owen Underhill’s music has many different expressions and has been described as dense and interesting, colourful, lyrical in inspiration, exuberant and witty, subtle, and thoughtful. His music is on several recordings including his recently released disc Still Image on the Centrediscs label. Underhill is a member and Co-Artistic Director of the Turning Point Ensemble, one of Canada’s most distinctive and accomplished large-size chamber ensembles, and is a faculty member in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University.



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