Arthur Gottschalk teaches at Rice University. His composition teachers include William Bolcom, Ross Lee Finney, and Leslie Bassett. Over the past few years his music has been widely performed and recorded and he was the featured composer this year at the Thailand International Composition Festival. The present release explores works for clarinet(s) and saxophone (alto and tenor) in various combinations as solos, duets, and with piano with musical references running the gamut from Jewish influences (Shalom) to jazz and a little Frank Zappa.
Two works are for tenor saxophone and clarinet. Benny, Zoot, and Teddy (play Richard and Lorenz, 2012) opens the album and also features piano. Here is just one of the examples of Gottschalk exploring and playing with the styles of jazz greats Benny Goodman, Zoot Sims, and Teddy Wilson. The musical style here has a delightful lighter quality with jazz riffs being explored with in florid motifs and some quite gorgeous lyrical moments. Also delightful are the little syncopated ideas and interesting rhythmic punctuations. The two solo instruments weave within each others lines while occasionally creating nice unison writing with piano. Along the way, classic jazz tropes are integrated into the musical texture. Two sonatas bookend the duo for tenor saxophone and bass clarinet, Oh, More or Less (2011). In this little work, the rapid passage work between the two instruments creates an often mesmerizing effect. The technical skill to pull this off is also something to be admired as the lines move as one.