• A Pressure Triggering Dreams
: Review

David Felder is a faculty member at SUNY Buffalo and longtime director of the June in Buffalo festival. On this fine CD, the composer draws inspiration for his work from the poety of Pableo Neruda and writings of Friedrich Nietzsche.

Musically, these pieces show a refining and broadening of the East Coast dissonant style, specifically descending from the dramatic wing of the genre. Elements from the oeuvre of Dalliapiccola, Martino, serial Rochberg, and Sessions can be noted, but Felder fashions a compelling voice of his own here. While astringent verticals are often heard, more triadic constructs (including occasional forays into frankly tonal idioms) are encountered with frequency. His instrumental writing is virtuostic (at times stunningly so), most notably in the clarinet part of Coleccion Nocturna (1982-83); here one finds tasteful use of extended techniques, including color shift fingerings, wide vibrato, pitch bends, and glissandi, as well as challenging traditional passagework on occasion suggesting a delightfully demented take on Klezmer stylings. Scoring in the two orchestral compositions is both luminous and highly effective. And, in best Mario Davidovsky fashion, Felder mixes electronic material into his textures most effectively. In Coleccion, socred for clarinet/bass clarinet, piano, and tape, the last two entities meld wonderfully with each other to suggest a colorful "super piano." The orchestral entitiy a pressuer triggering dreams (1997) employs samples and tape as well as electric bass and selective amplification of various ensemble members to excellent effect, giving the impression (not often encountered in pieces of this type) that these disparate elements belong together in the same stewpot. And such necessities as form and balance are not neglected. Coleccion is cast as an effective set of variations while a pressure describes a nicely wrought ternary strucutre. Felder takes his biggesr risks in this regard with the purely orchestral number Six Poems from Neruda's "Alturas..." (1992-93). One might expect that its lopsided tripartite construction, consisting of a short cataclysmic opener, lenghty pensive center, and mid duration outgoing finale shouldn't work at all -but somehow, Felder manages to pull it off with aplomb. The fact that this composition (as well as the others) unfolds fascinatingly is no small part of its success.

Performances are excellent. Clarinetist Jean Kopperud is sensational, navigating her part in Coleccion stunnigly well, with James Winn turning in a yeoman piano job of his own. The June in Buffalo Orchestra, conducted by Magnus Mårtensson and Harvey Solberger, is top notch. Production is fine. Sound quality is good on the symphonic entries, a bit swallowed on Coleccion. This is a splendid release of music by a talented, highly accomplished composer, very strongly recommended.

A Pressure Triggering Dreams