- Tashi, for clarinet, violin, cello, piano, & orchestra
- Percussion quartet
This CD brings together three of Charles Wuorinen's best-known chamber works in stellar performances by the Group for Contemporary Music, of which the composer was a founder, and the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble. "Tashi" (1975) was written for the ensemble of the same name, which consisted of violinist Ida Kavafian, cellist Fred Sherry, clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, and pianist Peter Serkin, as was "Fortune" (1979). The two pieces reveal Wuorinen at his thorniest; astringent harmonies, largely disjunct melodic lines, and rhythmic unpredictability make them works that require multiple attentive hearings to begin to unravel their logic. Their hugely expansive energy is their most prominent feature -- what exactly is going on may not be easily or immediately apparent, but it's clear that it's something momentous and explosive. The performances by clarinetist Jean Kopperud, violinist Curtis Macomber, cellist Fred Sherry, and pianist James Winn bring both pieces to roiling, shimmering life with their considerable technical virtuosity and their passionate advocacy for the music. Wuorinen's colorful "Percussion Quartet" is a more immediately engaging piece, with a sparkling surface and compelling rhythmic propulsion. Its second movement, written largely in a springy 6/8 meter, is practically danceable. The New Jersey Percussion Ensemble plays with an infectiousness sassiness that brings out the music's playfulness. Naxos' sound is clean and deep.