WORKS: Devil’s Golf Course; Jackdaw; Eclipse; Tracking
PERFORMER: Harry Sparnaay (bass clarinet)Smith Quartet, Singcircle, Aarhus SO/Gregory Rose
CATALOGUE NO: 8.224069
Born in America in 1953 but for long resident in Europe, Wayne Siegel has developed a music essentially minimalist in tone, whose harmony draws on modernism and whose sound-world could occasionally be described as constructivist. All four pieces here, given in well co-ordinated performances, though in sound too enclosed to allow their vibrancy to make a proper impact, show imaginative skill and an energetic approach to the media utilised.
The orchestral Devil’s Golf Course (1986), which involves synthesizers and – prominently – drums, was inspired by the dry salt lakes in Death Valley, California. A series of sections, each one increasing in textural density before giving way to the next, contrast vividly in speed and timbre.
The fun Jackdaw (1995) for bass clarinet and computer derives an entertaining conversation from sounds made by the bird and its closest musical relation. Drier and more workmanlike is another conversation piece, Eclipse (1992), in which Singcircle deploys its legendary extended vocal techniques, electronically enhanced. By the time you reach Tracking (1990), for string quartet and computer, Siegel’s box of tricks seems to be exhausted, and one’s final impression is of music unlikely to reveal many new facets after the initial hearing. George Hall