Title Tunes from a Tree House (2015) by John Carbon
Instrumentation Clarinet & Piano
Price $20
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About the Work

Program note courtesy of the composer:

Tunes from a Tree House was composed in 2015 for clarinetist Doris Hall-Gulati and pianist Steven Graff. The two movements in this work are based on memories from my childhood of events seen and heard from a tree house. In Sally's Waltz, the innocent, sunlit dance of a red-haired girl surrounds a darker moment alluding to the difficulties she will confront as an adult. Charlie's Practice is quite hurried, motivated by an anticipated bike ride. In this case, several familiar piano pieces that Charlie played are juxtaposed and deconstructed. I practiced many of these pieces as a child, and also played clarinet, so there are multiple layers of memory in this manic collage.


About the Composer

Born in 1951, composer John Carbon's eclectic musical background accounts for the wide variety of styles that he now embraces in his work. During his high school years he played and wrote for a rock band, but he also performed standard classical repertoire as a pianist and clarinetist, composing orchestral works that were influenced by Stravinsky and Prokofiev. His father played jazz saxophone, and some of Carbon's works, notably his Clarinet Concerto (1993), written for Richard Stoltzman and the Warsaw Philharmonic, incorporate bluesy harmonies and rhythms.

Recently, an ever-more lyrical and tonal tendency can be heard in John Carbon's music, along with an increased interest in contrapuntal textures. His music is rhythmically propulsive, sometimes as a result of the introduction of vernacular styles such as ragtime and tango. Most of his later work is aligned with his own unique version of "the new tonality," but at the same time his music falls firmly in the post-modern camp, meaning that he fuses different styles from past eras with the present to create his own highly accessible and distinctive voice.

Much of John Carbon's orchestral music, including the concerti for clarinet, piano, trumpet and double bass, has been recorded by the Warsaw Philharmonic, Slovak Radio Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, New York Chamber Symphony, Concordia and the Seattle Symphony. Conductors who have performed and recorded his music include Gerard Schwarz, George Manahan, and Maron Alsop. Performances have included premieres in Boston's Symphony Hall, New York's Avery Fisher, Alice Tully, Merkin and Carnegie Halls, Smetena Hall in Prague, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, and the Wuhan Conservatory in China.

Recordings of John Carbon's music can be found on the Naxos, Delos, MMC, CGS, Moonbridge, Emeritus, VMM and Zimbel labels. His primary publisher is JCcollections, and scores can be purchased from Sheetmusicplus, J. W. Pepper, Wehr's Music House, Alea Publishing and Lulu. He is presently the Richard S. and Ann B. Barshinger Professor of Music at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


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Catalog Info #ALEA1187
Piano score: 35 pages, spiral bound
Bass Clarinet part: 11 pages, staple bound