Old Wine, New Bottles
This disc by Floyd Williams & JANUS illustrates the cross fertilisation of folk/popular and jazz genres that occur in classical music. The original premise was to play early music (14th - 16th centuries) on modern instruments without regard for any historian's "purist" concerns.
This approach was also used for the songs of Leonard Cohen where they were arranged by the very talented Jonathan Henderson for a chamber music ensemble.
This was taken further by the songs being sung in a manner closer to art song or lieder. I also thought it would be interesting to juxtapose the Cohen songs with earlier songs by Machaut and Josquin in order to emphasise what they have in common as regards the concerns expressed in the texts (the pain of love, jealousy, and betrayal).
This CD is a result of a concert organised as part of the staff concert series at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in April, 2008.
Mitchell Leigh's improvisations between the old and the new serve brilliantly as a transition to each of the Cohen songs. Also, I think early music from the 14th to 16th century can sound very effective on modern instruments which preserve and honour the music's melodic and especially its rhythmic impact. This has long been a practice in the performance of J.S. Bach's music which can now be heard on anything from a grand piano to a brass quintet.
A number of works show the importance of jazz influence in the 20th century. In Khai-Wei Choong's Logic in Transit we hear a very unusual rendering of A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square by Eric Maschwitz and music by Manning Sherwin and Jack Strachey. This is preceded by John Stefulj and Pat Marchisella's version of the song. Their imaginative improvisation will further enhance the listener's appreciation of Choong's version for bass clarinet and piano.
Finally, we close with a dance form: Gustavo Beytelmann's Airs au tour du Tango.
- Floyd Williams, August 2009
Floyd Williams is a Senior Lecturer in Clarinet at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, Brisbane. He has performed with orchestras world wide as principal and solo clarinettist and is a leading lecturer in the clarinet.
- slow and nostalgic
- brisk, with drive
- very slow and hesitant
- Calypso Serenade
- lazily moving
- Phyton le Mervilleus Serpent Guillaume de Machaut
- Famous Blue Raincoat Leonard Cohen
- Mille Regretz Josquin Des Prez
- Hallelujah Leonard Cohen
- To Bird
- Browning Elway Bevin
- Sit Fast Christopher Tye
- A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square Eric Maschwitz Manning Sherwin
- Logic in Transit Khai-Wei Choong
- No. 4
- No. 6
- No. 8
Benny's Gig Morton Gould
Blue Jeans William Thomas McKinley
8 Airs autour du Tango Gustavo Beytelmann
- Floyd Williams · clarinet and bass clarinet · all except track 19
- Mitchell Leigh · piano · tracks 10, 12—16 and 20—23
- Pat Marchisella · double bass · tracks 1—12 and 17—19
- Gregory Massingham · tenor · tracks 9—12
- Patricia Pollett · viola · tracks 9—12, 17 and 18
- John Stefulj · alto saxophone · track 19
Where to buy
This title is also available in (or can be ordered through) many fine music retailers across Australia including Readings.