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David Ward-Steinman, piano; Nancy Turetzky, flute, piccolo; Bert Turetzky, contrabass; Phillip Rehfeldt, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon; Scott Vance, clarinet; Ron George, percussion, bass drum; Chris Corman, Blake Van Vliet, bass drum
Barney Childs (1926 - 2000) is perhaps best known for his innovative scores that weave indeterminacy and improvisation with traditional musical structures and notations. Eclectic in nature, Childs's compositions freely explored diverse avenues of musical thought and drew inspiration from many sources, including traditional western concert music (especially that of such composers as Hindemith, Ives, Ruggles, and Copland), the open form works of John Cage, and jazz of all periods and styles.
Childs's compositions usually have wonderfully idiosyncratic aspects to them, rather than following the dictates of either a system or an established style. He said that "to make music I make choices, as we all do, but I'm unable to presume that music must prove a doctrine, and I cannot accept music merely as process made audible. I choose what will happen simply because it seems to be the right thing to have happen, and in no other way." Thus, the pieces cannot be easily analyzed, and in fact, he dismisses the idea that the value of a work can be or should be determined by whether or not the resulting work is capable of a brilliant analysis.
His pieces consciously play with the listener's expectations, constantly balancing the familiar with the unexpected, so that the listener is "anticipating what is about to happen: the future is defined and qualified, as far as we can define it, by expectation and anticipation, and this is continually being fulfilled or surprised." This is exactly what makes a Childs piece work: the interplay between what is expected and what is not. This recording is a tribute to Childs by some of his close friends, performed and produced as a labor of love.