Firebird Ensemble: Kate Vincent, director and viola; Aaron Trant, assistant director and percussion; Sarah Bob, piano; Gabriela Diaz, violin; Scot Fitzsimmons, double bass; Jeffrey Means, conductor and percussion; Rane Moore, clarinet; David Russell, cello; Cory Smythe, piano
Donald Crockett’s (b 1951) works are notable, first of all, for their clarity and their immediate impact on the listener. The music could be described as elemental, on several levels—in its sonic tactility, in its use of readily identifiable, almost object-like musical gestures, and in its frequent connections, through poetic and evocative titles, to the lived, physical world. A sense of durability, of ruggedness, abides, even through a delicacy or sweetness that frequently makes itself felt.
There is a sense of transparent and flowing, tonally-centered harmonic motion, not ignoring moments of crunchy, high-density dissonance. Above all there is energy, constant energy: the energy of dance and American popular music, even without strong reference to those styles, an energy born of intimacy with the physical nature of performance, like improvisation.
The precision talents and eclectic energy of the Boston-based Firebird Ensemble, part of a new breed of chamber ensembles as comfortable playing clubs as concert halls, match up well with Crockett’s intricate, entertaining, and intimate music. Years of close collaboration have led to this wonderful recording of four significant chamber works.
Donald Crockett: Night Scenes