Donald Erb

Composer(s): Donald Erb
Album Title: Sunlit Peaks and Dark Valleys 
Cat. No.: 80537
Genre: Classical
Description: Sunlit Peaks and Dark Valleys

The Verdehr Trio; David Spencer and Ryan Anthony, trumpets; Gregory Fulkerson, violin; Yolanda Kondonassis, harp; Ross Powell, clarinet; Jo Boatright, keyboards

Donald Erb (b. 1927) writes within traditional forms and makes use of clear musical structures; his expansive textures exhibit a sophisticated musical craftsmanship and powerful expression. The five works presented here represent some of his most recent thoughts in the chamber medium, all of them having been written between 1994 and 1995.

Remembrances (1994)[for two trumpets] has to do with trumpet players who had an influential role in my life. Each of the five movements is dedicated to one of these people.” Among the dedicatees are Herbert L. Clarke, Dizzy Gillespie and Rex Stewart. Sonata for Solo Violin (1995) contrasts two profoundly elegiac movements (Vesper, Ceremony) with two rhythmically energetic, virtuosic ones (Scherzo, Gut Bucket Blues.)

The title composition, Sunlit Peaks and Dark Valleys (1995)[violin, clarinet, piano], in three movements, is the emotional fulcrum of the disc. “The first and last movements are bright and virtuosic in character. The dark valley in between was my second attempt to deal with one of the most profound events in recent times . . . the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City and the murder of the children . . . . This slow movement is based on “Jesus Loves Me,” a song which I and many American children learned in Sunday School.”

The remaining two works, Sonata for Solo Harp (1995), and Changes (1994)[piano, clarinet], like the other works on this disc, wed instrumental virtuosity to expressivity in an exemplary fashion that is the hallmark of Erb’s music. Liner notes by the composer. 
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