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    As Bright As The Skies Are Blue - mvt 1 - North, by David Reeves

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    As Bright As The Skies Are Blue - mvt 2 - East, by David Reeves

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    As Bright As The Skies Are Blue - mvt 3 - South, by David Reeves

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    As Bright As The Skies Are Blue - mvt 4 - West, by David Reeves

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    Game I for Lîla by Surendran Reddy

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    Santa Morena by Jacob do Bandolim

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The proverb “Two’s company, three’s a crowd” might not always hold true. But with her new album, clarinetist Kristen Mather de Andrade certainly makes a case for the depth and complexity that can exist in the most personal of musical relationships: the duo. 

The album takes its title from the opening work, As Bright As The Skies Are Blue (2019-20). Written by Seattle-based composer David Reeves, and commissioned by Mather de Andrade, it pairs the clarinetist with a longtime friend and colleague in the West Point Band: percussionist David Bergman. 

The four-movement work, influenced by music and dance from four different regions of Africa, delights in pushing the limits of what is possible from a duo. In the clarinet part, the player must shape-shift quickly back and forth between melodic and rhythmic virtuosity. And in the percussion part, with its array of instruments, no limb goes unused. (It’s not surprising that Reeves has a background in percussion.) 

Certain moments capture the wonderful simplicity of two voices in conversation, like the third-movement duet between clarinet and kalimba — part of a family of instruments traditional to Zimbabwe and characterized by a lovely metallic tone. Other musical exchanges add up to an impressive mosaic of colors. That’s particularly true in the first movement, where you can be forgiven at times for picturing four players rather than two. 

That concept carries over to South African composer Surendran Reddy’s solo clarinet piece Game 1 for Lîla. Written in 1996, it was inspired in part by feelings of joy and unity after the end of apartheid, but also by something more ordinary: the sight of a little girl practicing tennis by herself, hitting the ball against a wall.  

And so, he aimed to write what might be described as a duo for one: a solo piece that gives the impression of two instruments. Indeed, during one brilliant section, you get the sense of a higher voice keeping the beat, and a lower one dancing to it — something you may find irresistible to do yourself. 

The playlist comes to a conclusion with Santa Morena, a choro by 20th-century Brazilian composer and mandolinist Jacob do Bandolim (Mandolin Jacob). You don’t earn that kind of stage name without a good measure of virtuosity — a quality of his playing for which he was famous, and one that is also abundantly clear in this lively, rhythmic piece. 

The spirit of duo collaboration is reflected not just in the performance, but also in the writing. Santa Morena is heard here in an arrangement by the players themselves: Mather de Andrade and seven-string guitarist César Garabini, who first collaborated with the clarinetist on her debut album, Clarão. Among the highlights of this arrangement are the inventively varied accompaniment and the atmospheric opening clarinet solo. Fittingly, that introduction includes a passage in which the clarinet seems to produce two notes at once. Another “duo” – and why not? 

-Jarrett Hoffman

About the collaborators

David Reeves As Bright As The Skies Are Blue

David Reeves

Composer

David Reeves (b. 1973) has written extensively for percussion and has also composed for orchestra, concert band, chamber ensemble, choir and solo instrumental works. His works draw from jazz, funk, world music, minimalism and electronics resulting in music that is stimulating and engaging to both performer and listener. David has also collaborated with contemporary choreographers as a composer and musician.

His works have been frequently performed throughout the U.S. and have also been performed in the U.K., Austria, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Russia. Many of his percussion compositions are published through Tapspace. He has also self-published several works available on this website.

His works have been awarded or recognized by: Percussive Arts Society (PAS), World Percussion Group (WPG), Aries Composer Festival, International Percussion Institute (IPI), Great Plains Marimba Festival and more.

David has worked for over thirty years as an arranger for several WGI, BOA, DCI, DCUK and University marching ensembles.

He is a Pearl/Adams and Innovative Percussion artist. David resides in Seattle, Washington with his wife, Krista and their three sons.

 

Surendran Reddy Game 1 for Lila

Surendran Reddy

Composer

Surendran Reddy (9 March 1962 – 22 January 2010) was a South African composer and pianist.

After his studies at the Royal College of Music and King's College in London he had a highly successful international career as a classical and jazz pianist. He invented his own new musical style called "clazz" in which he fuses classical, jazz, South African mbaqanga and other world music elements. His compositions, which have been performed all over the world, include orchestral and chamber music as well as solo instrumental and vocal works.

David Bergman

Percussion

David is a native of Portland, Oregon. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in percussion performance from the University of North Texas, and his Master of Music Degree in percussion performance from Duquesne University. He was also a graduate student/teaching assistant at Cleveland State University. He joined the West Point Band at the United States Military Academy in 2008. He is Principal Percussion of the Concert Band, and plays drumset in the band’s chamber group, the Quintette 7. David is also the drummer for the Broadway Training Center Pit Orchestra and frequently performs with regional chamber groups and orchestras.

David has performed with the Oregon Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Albany Symphony, The Orchestra Now, West Virginia Symphony, Canton Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Youngstown Symphony, and the Glens Falls Symphony. As a member of the West Point Band, he has collaborated with the Dallas Wind Symphony, the New Jersey Ballet, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the New York Philharmonic. He has also been a staff accompanist for the Conservatory of Performing Arts Dance Department at Point Park University, and the Mary Miller Dance Company. He was a snare drummer in the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps under Ralph Hardimon as well as the famed University of North Texas ‘A-Line’ under Paul Rennick. David has received numerous awards and scholarships including winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society Chamber Music Competition. He can be heard on "In Thy Sweet Name", an album of renaissance music recorded by Collective Brass in 2018, and “A Collective Brass Christmas” released in 2019.

Bergman has studied percussion under Ed Stephan, Christopher Deane, Paul Rennick, Andrew Reamer, Chris Allen, Tommy Igoe and Tom Freer. He was a student at Music Academy of the West for two summers where he studied with Ted Atkatz and Mike Werner.

Cesar Garabini

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Born in 1987 in Minas Gerais, Cesar Garabini is an Italian-Brazilian 7-string guitarist that specializes in Choro, the predecessor to the well known Brazilian music styles Samba and Bossa Nova. Choro began in the 1890s as a mix of European classical and folk with African rhythms, its popularity began in the 1900s and continues to present day.

Music became his passion at the first sound of the guitar. At 13 while walking home from school he saw two musicians playing classical guitar and it inspired him to take lessons. A citizen of the world, Cesar has lived in Brazil, Italy, and the United States, each influenced his playing and growth as a musician, teacher and performer. In 2009 Cesar started putting together Samba, Bossa Nova and Chorinho bands, performing in Florence and other regions of Italy. In 2011 he moved to New York City to expand his musical knowledge.

In the past 7 years he has performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Jazz Standard, Birdland, Columbia University, the Museum of Modern Art, with a monthly residence at Barbes. He has worked with Anat Cohen, Olli Soikkeli and Tim Connell. He has been featured on NPR, NBC and Global.

Cesar plays many other styles such as Samba, Bossa Nova, Waltz, American Jazz, Portuguese Fado and more. He currently hosts a Roda with Regional de New York at Beco Bar in Williamsburg every other Sunday of the month.