From a review in the The Clarinet 47/4 (September 2020):
“The final work on the album is Gerald Cohen’s Sea of Reeds, a set of five songs based on traditional Hebrew texts. In a break from all the other works on the album, this is the only one to feature two B-flat clarinets as opposed to the E-flat/B-flat combination. The first song, “Hariu L’adonai,” is a jaunty rhythmic frolic that is incredibly effective due again to the evenly-matched forces and faultless intonation of Barger and Gainey. The second song, “Adonai Ro’i lo Echsar,” is plaintive and somewhat doleful, which is contrasted by the syncopated and spry third song, “Dodi li va’ani lo.” The fourth song, “Y’varech’cha,” possess a childlike innocence with Barger and Gainey echoing each other’s melodies in canonic imitation mixed with unison singing. The work concludes with “Dayeinu!,” a capricious dance in mixed meter that is a fitting way to conclude an engaging album.”
From the Amicitia Duo:
We named our debut CD Play Pretty in honor of Diane’s mother who passed away last year, as well as for the first movement of a piece written for us by our friend (and amazing composer) Scott McAllister. Soon after our duo was established, we discovered we had a particular affinity for music for E-flat clarinet and B-flat clarinet, and instantly thought of Scott when we were discussing who might compose a piece for us. This resulted in our first commission for music featuring E-flat and B-flat clarinets, and within a few short months the Amicitia Suite was born. This work is very special to us, as it was written in honor of our long friendship of over thirty years and also of our relationships with our mothers, both now gone. Sometimes it is difficult to play our mothers’ movements, as the music brings so many emotions to the surface. We treasure having this piece to celebrate our friendship and our love for our mothers, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do. We are equally excited to present the other works on this recording and are deeply grateful for the composers who worked with us to make this a reality. Special thanks to William Price, Denise’s friend and colleague, for writing his charming Sweet and Simple for us; to Alexis Ciesla for transcribing his exhilarating Etudes Concertantes for our combination of clarinets (and his Sonatina Antique, which we plan to record in the near future); and to Gerald Cohen for allowing us to record his beautiful Sea of Reeds. We cherish the experience of making this CD for you and we hope you find some joy and inspiration in its contents. Always remember to “Play Pretty”!
- Diane Barger and Denise Gainey
“Play Pretty” received a fantastic review in the The Clarinet 47/4 (September 2020). Read the article on the International Clarinet Association