Rocco e Rollo

January, 2020
CD Digipack
Arthur Gottschalk

A man whose music is described as “infectious , loud, and fun” (Gramophone Magazine), and “fascinatingly strange” (BBC Music Magazine), award-winning composer Arthur Gottschalk is Professor of Music Composition at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he founded and directed the school’s electronic music laboratories until 2002, and chaired the composition and theory department from 1997 to 2010. Additionally, he co-founded Modern Music Ventures, Inc., a company which held a recording studio complex, a record production division, four publishing firms, and an artist management division, and for whom he produced records for the PolyGram and Capitol labels, among others. 
He was a student of renowned American composers William Bolcom, Ross Lee Finney, and Leslie Bassett, and worked also with Mario Davidovsky and Aaron Copland. He likes to explore the interstices between popular and art music, and between the Sacred and Profane.

The seventh volume of Amirani Contemporary is dedicated to Arthur Gottschalk’s music.
Here you find three of his brilliantly transversal works featuring Rocco Parisi’s bass clarinet infinite vocabulary in an engaging performance.
Gottschalk’s compositions span from angular, dissonant to speeding up sound masses to contrapuntal intriguing melodies, chamber flavored moments along with rock, boogie and other dance rhythms. 
Dazzling and intense the music delivers a positive, colorful emotional palette that freely crosses style boundaries and involves the listener in a fully enjoyable experience.


The Clarinet
Cody Grabbe

Gottschalk’s works and if you are looking for new-to-you works, this album would be a welcome one to the audio library. The title work of the album starts an eerie flicker of sound from hollow trills that swell to the orchestra’s entrance with a similar character and trills echoed. As the first movement continues, Parisi’s aptitude for both conventional and contemporary techniques are apparent with technical passages sounding effortless as he spans the range of the instrument deftly. The work has moments like a film score, built with tension and large bold moments that segue into passages evoking other styles including but not limited to Gershwin’s American in Paris. Listening to this album without seeing the track list, one may not realize that all the works are by the same composer, which is a testament to Gottschalk’s ability to write such diverse musical characters. The allusions in the Quintet for Bass Clarinet and Strings have perhaps the most dramatic moments of the album, with homages to notable Italian musicians Paganini, Rossini and Mancini. Tender moments in the second movement lead to references to Paganini that demonstrate the wide range the bass clarinet can attain in the hands of a capable performer. I would not have expected to hear the ubiquitous Paganini Caprice No. 24 on a bass clarinet, but Gottschalk’s version through Parisi shows us a nimble technique and ability on the instrument. The closing track “Doo Wop Deconstruction” is the one I listened to a few times and found myself noticing new details each time. Gottschalk’s writing seems broader than four voices in the quartet and his writing for the bass clarinet showcases the many shades of the instrument. I found myself catching the subtle allusions to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons that could only make someone smile, again showcasing a robust and warm sound from Parisi. I would never have expected that “Can’t Take My Eyes off You” would be in an album I reviewed, but I hope listeners find it as pleasant an end to the album as I did, with the final tongue slap evoking a mic drop to me. The pacing of the album is well-balanced in diversity of sound and character.


1. Rocco e Rollo

Rocco Parisi bass clarinet
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Allan Wilson

Recorded on June 19, 2016 in Bratislava, Slovakia

2. Quintet for Bass Clarinet and Strings

Rocco Parisi Bass clarinet
The Axiom String Quartet:
Dominika Dancewicz violin                                                                                              
Ingrid Gerling violin
Laura Krentzman viola
Patrick Moore cello 

Recorded on 21-24 March, 2018 in Houston, TX - USA
Andy Bradley productions
Sound engineer Andy Bradley

3. Doo Wop Decostruction

The Rocco Parisi’s Bass Clarinet Quartet:
Rocco Parisi bass clarinet
Paolo Turino bass clarinet
Edgardo Balassina bass clarinet
Carlo Giosuè Vallone bass clarinet

Recorded on November 11, 2018 at Sound Sistemi, Santhià, Italy
Sound engineer Gian Paolo Guercio