Past and present come together in this vibrant release from Sono Luminus, But Not Forgotten: Music by African-American Composers for Clarinet & Piano, as clarinetist Marcus Eley, and pianist Lucerne DeSa display the timeless class and musical stylings of composers whose music runs rich with knowledge.
The composer offers high praise for this performance of her Night Fantasy for clarinet and piano. Other works on the CD feature the music of Alvin Batiste, Scott Joplin, Clarence Cameron White, Undine Smith Moore, Samuel Akpabot, Quincy Hilliard, William Grant Still, and Todd Cochran.
Marcus Eley writes, “For many years, I have had the privilege of performing recitals featuring African-American composers for clarinet and piano. I have felt these composers needed an advocate, a champion, to make certain their compositions for my instrument were not ignored. In current classical or “art music”, there is little representation in mainstream recorded music of these composers for clarinet. This recording, although reflective of the collection of works for clarinet and piano by African-American composers, is merely a sample of the total body of material that has remained largely untapped. I want this CD of clarinet and piano music to celebrate these worthy composers. Further, it is my desire that their unique voices are heard, and not forgotten.”
Marcus Eley is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Music in clarinet, and studied at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Austria. Eley has performed as a soloist with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra (Germany), the Louisville Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Edmonton (Canada) Wind Sinfonia and the National Army Military Band of the People’s Republic of China (Beijing). He has also given numerous recitals in major cities of the United States. On his New York debut recital in Weill Recital Hall, The New York Times cited his performance as “ ...expert, songful, and straightforward.” As a special honor, Eley was chosen to perform on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago and Los Angeles.
Lucerne DeSa, pianist, has performed extensively as both solo recitalist and chamber musician. Her enthusiastically received solo recitals have been heard in such diverse locations as Middlebury College in Vermont, the Bera Concert Series in Brookhaven, New York, McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas, and the University of California, Irvine. She has performed with clarinetist Marcus Eley in recital at the Cité Universitaire de Paris, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as part of the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, and on the Old First Church Concert Series in San Francisco. They have also performed for radio WFMT Chicago as well as KUSC Los Angeles. Their most recent collaboration was a recital of music for clarinet and piano composed by African-Americans at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa. Regarding her collaborative playing, Cue Magazine declared, “DeSa’s pianism is out of the top drawer with her vast array of touches, huge dynamic vocabulary, exceptional control over nuances and phenomenal digital accuracy”.