Donald Martino

Composer(s): Donald Martino
Album Title: A Jazz Set 
Cat. No.: 80518
Genre: Classical
Description: A Jazz Set

The Core Ensemble: Mark Hinton, piano; Andrew Mark, cello; Michael Parola, percussion

Donald Martino is one of the leading American composers who use twelve-tone technique as their compositional basis. The five works presented here reveal a side of Martino not generally known or acknowledged. (Three of the works are CD premieres, A Set for Marimba, A Jazz Set, and Canzone e Tarantella sul nome Petrassi for cello and clarinet. Parisonatina for solo cello and Twelve Preludes for solo piano round out the program.)

Jazz and popular music (he was a jazz clarinetist and songwriter manqué) have had a definite and lasting influence on his compositional persona. The variety of refined accents, nuances, timbral inflections, and rhapsodic invention of jazz infuses his artistic sensibility as much, perhaps, as Varèse’s avant-garde experiments with sonority and electro-acoustic sounds. Improvisation is sometimes built into the compositional process, as in A Set for Marimba and Twelve Preludes, or explicitly encouraged, as in Parisonatina.

The Canzone e Tarantella is a charming work that manages to incorporate bits of Verdi, specifically La traviata and Don Carlos. A Jazz Set with its three movements, ( 1) Canon Ball 2) Cathy 3) Three Way), brings the disc to a swinging conclusion, a cool amalgam of neo-Bachian counterpoint and lush jazz harmonies. 
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