CHAMBER MUSIC OF SAMUEL A. LIVINGSTON
Samuel A. Livingston composer
Pedroia String Quartet
Yhasmin Valenzuela clarinet
International folk dances and Western film scores meet in GENTLE WINDS, a richly tonal collection that is as pleasing to hear as it is to perform. With the melodic, songlike phrases that highlight each instrument equally, one can hear the joy emanating from every performer.
Each piece moves through syncopated rhythms that add lift and airiness without feeling contrived. Inspired by international folk dances, where uneven rhythms are a natural element, Livingston’s compositions create a sense of energy as each measure leaps from its final beat to the first beat of the next. Gentle Winds, the title track featuring flute, oboe, clarinet, and horn, opens the album with a pleasant, smooth sound through which one can almost picture meadow grass gently swaying in a summer breeze. In The Old Man is Dancing, the flute, clarinet, and oboe effortlessly hand the main theme back and forth, as if taking turns on the dance floor. Call to the Mountains reflects the influence of classic Western film scores, with the flute, clarinet, oboe, and bassoon responding to the rich call of the horn. Quiet Summer Night for string quartet and clarinet follows a similar structure to The Old Man is Dancing, passing the melody through the quartet to the second violin and viola — instruments often delegated to less interesting sections. This equal inclusion of each instrument creates a full, rich sound that delightfully carries listeners from the opening moments of a piece all the way to the lingering final notes.
Lyrical, joyful, and lighthearted, GENTLE WINDS is the epitome of feel-good chamber music. Every instrument shares an equal voice, coming together in a performance that is as timeless as it is breathtaking.