SEA OF REEDS (Navona Records)
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“Cohen’s music is filled with vibrant melody, rhythmic clarity, drive and compositional construction that show a mastery of and a real sympathy towards the clarinet…This is a sheer delight to hear, a chocolate-fudge sundae of excellently intertwining musical syntax. Three cheers for this one.” Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review
Note: Sheet music of all Gerald Cohen’s instrumental compositions (scores and parts) are available by contacting the composer directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sea of Reeds is a celebration of the clarinet — Cohen’s compositions explore this instrument’s colorful personality with his particular combination of classical, Jewish, and jazz influences.
According to composer Gerald Cohen, “I love the clarinet for its wide variety of character and dynamics, and its ability to either blend beautifully with other instruments or to stand out in a crowd.” Through this affinity, the composer offers new compositions featuring the clarinet in various trio settings on his debut Navona Records release, SEA OF REEDS.
The performers on the album are the dynamic young members of the Grneta Ensemble (Vasko Dukovski and Ismail Lumanovski, clarinets, and Alexandra Joan, piano), together with the superb string players Jennifer Choi and Maria Lambros. The three members of the Grneta Ensemble share an Eastern European heritage and a love of folk and improvised music, and have been particularly devoted to Cohen’s chamber music.
Variously Blue is a vibrant group of variations on a 12-bar blues pattern, highlighting an interplay between jazz and concert music; the title collection Sea of Reeds arranges five of Cohen’s Jewish vocal works, turning them into virtuosic clarinet showpieces. Yedid Nefesh, based on a delicate Sephardic song, explores both meditative and exuberant aspects of that melody, while the wide-ranging variations of Grneta Variations take advantage of the wonderful virtuosity and unique musical personalities of the three musicians of the Grneta Ensemble.
“SEA OF REEDS” sampler: