Mysteries. For the last ten years or so, I've toured across the USA and abroad as a solo clarinet recitalist and master clinician. As my solo show has developed and evolved, I've commissioned, adapted and developed a repertoire of fresh and accessible solo works for unaccompanied clarinet and clarinet/CD. This CD features some of those works along with some other gems I found in my search for new literature.
Mysteries is available for purchase from
Desertscape: New Music for Clarinet. This CD features fresh and original clarinet music by Keith Bradshaw, Robert Fruehwald and Jeffrey Hoover. Pianist Tyson Wunderlich also performs on the CD with Michael Dean.
Desertscape is available for purchase from
Desertscape: New Music For Clarinet
Michael Dean, clarinet
Desertscape (clarinet & piano) (1999) [18:25] Keith Merrill Bradshaw (b. 1961)
 Desert Dawn [5:30]
 Desert Dance [5:04]
 Desert Deluge [2:36]
 Desert Dusk [5:15]
Tyson Wunderlich, piano
 September (clarinet & CD) (2007) [7:09] Jeffrey Hoover (b. 1959)
 Terpsichore (clarinet alone) (2003) [3:52] Robert Fruehwald (b. 1957)
 Dreaming (clarinet & piano) (1997) [5:33] Jeffrey Hoover
Tyson Wunderlich, piano
 Andy and Me (clarinet & CD) (2006) [7:30] Robert Fruehwald
Recorded and Engineered by Robert Fruehwald. Produced by Robert Fruehwald and Michael Dean.
Recorded at Shuck Recital Hall, Southeast Missouri State University River Campus,
Cape Girardeau, Missouri in January, March, and May of 2008.
Total Time 42:29
This CD is dedicated to George J. Dean (1930-2007) and Rod Butler (1947-2007).
Copyright 2008, Michael Dean
Notes by the Composers
Desertscape by Keith Merrill Bradshaw is a four movement composition for clarinet and piano
depicting various times and events of the deserts and canyons of Southern Utah. Commissioned by Michael Dean and the Barlow Endowment for Composition, the piece takes the listener on a journey from dawn to dusk through narrow canyons, deep ravines, and endless wilderness, where nature displays her stunning beauty and awesome power.
The first movement, Desert Dawn, begins with the first hint of light, and grows to a sunrise of
brilliant pinks and oranges across the sky. The desert awakens and blooms before the sun's scorching heat strikes. The sun and the wind start the Desert Dance with shimmering mirages and whirling dust devils. The lonely dance becomes more serious as two scorpions dance to the death. As their strange death waltz ends, and the victor dances away, the sun and wind continue, oblivious to the life and death struggle that has just occurred.
Drops of rain are felt as the Desert Deluge begins. The storm quickly escalates to a cloudburst,
and then a flash flood sweeps through wiping out everything in its path. Then, as quickly as it started it is over, leaving only a few puddles as a reminder of the passing storm. Desert Dusk displays a striking sunset, fading as night approaches. The lonely howl of the coyote, the hoot of the owl, the quiet flapping of bats. wings, and a warm breeze are the only sounds as the desert shifts from light to dark.
Desertscape was premiered by Michael Dean and Carl Eklund (piano) at the NACWPI National
Symposium at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana in January of 1999. The music for Desertscape is available from the composer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keith Bradshaw.s professional web page is www.suu.edu/faculty/bradshaw.
September (for clarinet & CD) by Jeffrey Hoover was commissioned by Michael Dean.
"September has always been a month of change and transition - a time when nature embraces both summer and fall, and life unfolds in new ways for individuals and society. The music of September is set in two related and contrasting sections: music of thoughtful reflection and music of engaging the present. The sound and music of September posses an autumnal quality, while spanning the psychological and emotional gap between the sound of memories and the music of now."
September was premiered by Michael Dean at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New
York in April of 2007. The sheet music and CD accompaniment for September are available from the composer at email@example.com. Jeffrey Hoover.s professional web page is
Terpsichore, A Quodlibet on Melodies by Michael Praetorius for Solo Clarinet by Robert
Fruehwald was commissioned by Michael Dean and his wife to celebrate the birth of their daughter. Michael Dean premiered the work at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri in February of 2003. "Terpsichore, by Michael Praetorius, is the quintessential collection of Renaissance dance music. It contains dances that were extremely well known in their own time and that are still widely performed today. This quodlibet combines three of these dances: a Bransle, a Bouree, and a Volte." The music for Terpsichore is available from the composer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Robert Fruehwald.s professional web page is www6.semo.edu/fruehwalsd/home.html.
Dreaming (for clarinet & piano) by Jeffrey Hoover "possesses a three-section design, the third
section being a repetition and modification of the first section: an A B A. structure. One hears a
mixture of tonal and modal melodies and harmonies that gives the music both a very old and very modern sound at the same time. The music suggests both repose and tension, a state of mind one possesses as one dreams . whether awake or asleep." The clarinet version of Dreaming was premiered by Michael Dean and Amy Merkley (piano) at Orchestra Hall, Cedar City, Utah in September of 1997. The music for Dreaming is available from the composer at email@example.com.
Andy and Me (for clarinet & CD) by Robert Fruehwald was commissioned by Michael Dean.
"Andy and Me is a whimsical look at the relationship between Mike and the newest addition to his family, Andy. The sounds on the CD accompaniment represent (and feature) Andy in a kind of conversation with the clarinet music played by Mike." Michael Dean premiered the work at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri in December of 2006. The sheet music and CD accompaniment for Andy and Me are available from the composer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Dean (clarinet) is Associate Professor of Clarinet and Saxophone at Southeast Missouri
State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. He is also President of the National Association of
College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI). Dr. Dean is an active recitalist, soloist, clinician, and orchestral/chamber musician. He has performed as a recitalist at Carnegie Hall, the International Clarinet Association's ClarinetFest conference, and the NACWPI National Symposium. He has premiered and edited several new works and is featured on the Red Mesa Trio CD. Dr. Dean.s publications include a book, Clarinet On Campus, and articles in journals such as WINDPLAYER, the NACWPI Journal, and the Southwestern Musician. His professional web page is clarinetmike.com.
Tyson Wunderlich (piano) is an adjunct instructor of music at Southeast Missouri State University and the Southeast Missouri Music Academy.
Special thanks to: Robert Fruehwald, Keith Bradshaw, Jeffrey Hoover, Beverly Delph,
Chris Goeke, Gary Miller, Sheryl Henley, Anne-Leslie, Miles, Veronica, and Andy.
Saguaro picture was taken at Avra Valley, Arizona and is available at www.morguefile.com. Dunes picture is Death Valley, California and is courtesy PDPhoto.org. Both photos are public domain.
Woodwind Music of Robert Fruehwald, Volume 1. Michael Dean and flutist Paul Thompson perform music for solo clarinet and flute by composer Robert Fruehwald. The CD features the beautiful tone work for clarinet, "Summer Sunrise on the Mississippi."
Woodwind Music of Robert Fruehwald: Volume 1 is available for purchase from
Woodwind Music of Robert Fruehwald, Volume 1
1. Summer Sunrise on the Mississippi (2009)
Michael Dean, Clarinet
2-4. Three Turkish Preludes (2003)
I. Bak Suda Kasin Karesine
II.Portakal Dilim Dilim
III. Indim Yarin Bahšesine
Paul Thompson, Flute
5. Atacameno Eluwun (1991)
Paul Thompson, Flute
6. Terpsichore (2003)
Michael Dean, Clarinet
7. Andy and Me (2006)
Michael Dean, Clarinet
8-10. Hymntunes I: Three Chorale Preludes for Christmas (1991)
I. Angels from the Realms of Glory
II. It came upon a Midnight Clear
III. Angels We have Heard on High
Paul Thompson, Flute
11-15. Metamorphosis of My Cat Fletcher (1993)
I. ╔tude aux Mutations
II. ╔tude de "Purr"
III. ╔tude Scherzo
IV. ╔tude Primitive
Paul Thompson, Flute
Music is not abstract, it is shaped by life experience.
Every day, when walking home from my job at the university, I would see a glint of blue through the trees on the horizon. For many months, I thought I was seeing the sky. Then, one day, I saw a stern-wheel steamboat squarely in the middle of that patch of blue--what I had been seeing was the Mississippi River. Every day after that, I would watch the river and its changing moods. It became my daily companion. I decided to write a piece about the river--a passage from Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi was my inspiration. Summer Sunrise on the Mississippi was commissioned by clarinetist Michael Dean. In addition to the solo clarinet, ambient sounds of life on the river appear.
The Turkish Preludes were shaped by someone else's life experiences--the experiences of New York flutist Linda Wetherill. In addition to being a great proponent of new music, Linda spent a number of years traveling the world performing and teaching. Much of that time was spent in Istanbul. While in Istanbul, Linda became interested in Turkish folk music and collected quite a few folk melodies. These pieces are based on some of the melodies she collected.
Atacameno Eluwun was inspired by the loneliness of the high desert. When I was a student in California, I would look across the valley to the barren mountains and wonder what it was like to live in such a place before the subdivisions, the freeways, the apartment complexes. I heard a recording of a funeral procession of native people from the high desert of Chile. The music of the procession was evocative of the loneliness of that landscape. Atacameno Eluwun also incorporates vocal sounds and musical scales inspired by the music of the high desert. To my surprise, the piece has been performed quite often, in venues ranging from great cathedrals to dance concerts.
My wife and I occasionally play for a university fund raising function known as the medieval dinner. At this dinner, guests dress up in medieval-renaissance costume and consume medieval-renaissance food while listening to medieval-renaissance music. Some of the music we play comes from Terpsichore, the quintessential renaissance "gig-book" of dance tunes by Michael Praetorius. While performing these tunes one night, it dawned on me that I could fit several of the tunes together into a kind of simultaneous medley, a quodlibet. In order to make this work, it.s necessary to change the rhythm of the melodies so that the different melodies alternate, with the gaps between the fragments of one melody allowing bits of the other melodies to be heard. Since only one melody was actually being heard at any given time, it seemed appropriate to use this material in a work for a solo melody instrument, the clarinet.
Andy and Me is a piece about a man and his dog. It is a kind of duet. First, between the clarinetist and himself (prerecorded clarinet sounds) and later between the clarinetist and Michael Dean's dog, Andy. The work presents snapshots of Andy's daily routine: his barking at strangers, his excited scrambling across the deck in the back of his house, and his enthusiastic enjoyment of dinner.
Hymntunes I: Three Chorale Preludes for Christmas was one of my first attempts to use familiar melodies as material for extreme transformation. I think there is something artistically interesting in witnessing something transformed into something else. In order to make the transformation perceptible, it helps if the original material is familiar. Each phrase of these familiar melodies is transformed in a number of ways, often until it is unrecognizable.
Metamorphosis of my Cat Fletcher has a long history. When I started working on the piece, I thought about the advice given by everybody's high school creative writing teacher: "write about what you know." This recommendation seems pretty trite, but it's actually very good advice. At the same time, our cat kept bothering me--he wanted his dinner. It occurred to me that the cat was something that "I knew." Why not write a piece about Fletcher?
I put the piece together and premiered it myself at a summer music camp at Southeast Missouri State University. This camp was, at one time, cited as the largest summer music camp in the world. There were several thousand students spread out over three or four weeks. When I took the stage the students were pretty quiet, but after a few cat howls came from the loud speakers there ensued fifteen minutes of bedlam. Campers were literally rolling in the aisles. Stravinsky would have been proud.
While the piece made quite an impression, no-one seemed to recognize the form of the work. The form is designed to be a "backwards" theme and variations with the variations appearing first and the theme at the end. The problem was that nobody guessed what the theme was before the final movement. Even the camp's teachers didn.t recognize it. This puzzled me a little because I had included many clues along the way: seagulls singing part of the theme, even some of the lyrics from the theme. The fact that these lyrics were in German, and that the people speaking them were using "cartoon" voices, probably made them difficult to understand.
So I added video to the piece. In many ways the piece works better with the video (the video version is posted in three parts on YouTube). It is easier to follow and it's more humorous. Still, I think the purely auditory version presented here has its own charm.
--Robert Fruehwald, 2010
Composer and teacher Robert Fruehwald grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, where he played flute in the Louisville Youth Orchestra. He attended the University of Louisville, the California Institute of the Arts, and Washington University in St. Louis. He studied with Mel Powell, Morton Subotnick, Leonard Rosenman, and Robert Wykes. In the 1980s, Dr. Fruehwald developed a series of computer programs to print musical examples for scholarly journals and books. In 1989, he took a teaching position at Southeast Missouri State University. He served as chair of the Department of Music from 1995-2000. He is currently Professor of Music Theory and Composition. He is the editor of New Music for Solo Alto/Bass Flute. His music appears on Linda Wetherill's CD, Sound and Repercussion and Robert Fruehwald: Music for Flutes and Guitar by Leslie Marrs and Robert Trent.
Paul Thompson was born in Manchester, England in 1960, and commenced his studies with Rainer Schuelein at the London College of Music, and with Alain Marion, professor at the Paris Conservatoire, on a French Government Scholarship. He received his Master.s in Performance with Robert Goodberg at the Institute of Chamber Music at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Mr. Thompson has held teaching positions at the London College of Music Junior Department, Cornell and Colgate Universities in New York, the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, and Murray State University in Kentucky. He has been Instructor of Flute at Southeast since 1991.
Red Mesa Trio. The Red Mesa Trio CD features chamber works for clarinet, violin, and piano. The CD also features Michael Dean performing Phillip Bimstein's whimsical "Half Moon at Checkerboard Mesa." In addition to Michael Dean on clarinet, the Red Mesa Trio CD has Philip Baldwin on violin and Carol Urban Stivers on piano.
The Red Mesa Trio CD is available for purchase from Van Cott Information Services.
Afternoon Cakewalk [25:10]
Easy Winners [4:12]
Heliotrope Bouqet [3:24]
Ethiopia Rag [4:15]
Frog Legs Rag [4:03]
Graceful Ghost [5:54]
Finale: Incineratorag [3:22]
|Half Moon at Checkerboard Mesa [8:15]
||Phillip Kent Bimstein
Michael Dean, solo clarinet
Andante con dolore [4:51]
Moderato - Presto [7:31]
Recorded at Southern Utah University, Cedar City,
Utah on June 28 - 29, 2000 and Grimshaw Sound Studio on July 26, 2000.
Produced by the Red Mesa Trio. Engineered by Scott Grimshaw.
Special thanks to Scott Grimshaw, Bart Shanklin,
Jody Shimpach, Paul Kreider, Dorothy Baldwin, Anne-Leslie Dean, and
Copyright 2000, LMB Resources
Afternoon Cakewalk - William Bolcom (b. 1938)
Afternoon Cakewalk presents composer William Bolcom in
his least "academic" mode. This suite came amidst the
resurgence of interest in Scott Joplin's music and the
genre called "ragtime." Bolcom first encountered
ragtime in the late 1960s through Norman Lloyd, the
director of the music division of the Rockefeller
Foundation. Lloyd had recently heard Joplin's only
opera Treemonisha and had asked Bolcom if he knew it.
Bolcom replied that he did not even know of Joplin,
but after asking around he discovered that his
officemate, Rudi Blesh, had a score in his personal
library. (Blesh later became the leading expert on
ragtime.) Another friend, Max Morath, gave him some
rags which Bolcom played at a Christmas party in 1967.
Pianist Joshua Rifkin was in attendance, and "thus
were born the Rifkin Joplin recordings, which were to
give Joplin serious attention in the musical world"
according to Bolcom. Fascination for this musical era
led to a collaboration with Robert Kimball on a
biography of the famous vaudeville performers Noble
Sissle and Eubie Blake called Reminiscing with Sissle
Intrigued by the lively syncopations and charming
melodies, Bolcom began to add them to his serious
atonal works, notably Black Host for organ in 1967.
In 1970, he began composing his own rags and performed
fourteen of these on a broadcast for WBAI in New York.
He said "It was such an amazing feeling to put four
flats and 2/4 time at the head of a score after being
an academic composer." The complete recorded set
entitled Bolcom Plays His Own Rags can be heard on the
Jazzology label (JCE-72). The most famous of these
rags-The Graceful Ghost-was arranged for the Afternoon
Cakewalk Suite and subsequent instrumental
combinations including violin and piano duo and
Afternoon Cakewalk was premiered in 1979 with the
Murray Louis Dance Company in New York with David
Shifrin (clarinet), Sergiu Luca (violin) and Bolcom at
the piano. Bolcom and Luca later recorded the
Graceful Ghost on Nonesuch Records, Number 79058.
Largo - Charles Ives (1874-1954)
The Largo, part of what Ives called the First Violin
Sonata (called by Henry Cowell the Pre-First Sonata)
was started when Ives was in college. It was finished
in New York about 1901. The second movement (Largo)
was transformed into a single movement for clarinet,
violin, and piano. He never added other movements to
the Largo to form a complete trio for these
instruments. Ives said that the other movements of
the violin/piano sonata 'weren't much good' and that
he wouldn't keep them. He nevertheless did use
sections of the other three movements (the rejected
scherzo, the end of the first movement, and the last
movement), in what is now known as his First
Violin/Piano Sonata, written in 1903 and 1908. This
borrowing of previously composed materials would
become a common practice throughout his life.
Charles Ives was one of the most extraordinary musical
figures in the history of Western music. He, along
with Schoenberg and Stravinski, explored new harmonic
structures that went beyond those used in the 19th
Century. The influence of his father George's
fascination with the clash of rhythm and tone is
clearly seen here in the Largo. In the beginning and
closing A sections, the rather harmonically stable
piano accompaniment is juxtaposed with the other
instruments that, at times, seem to be in a different
Even beyond these new harmonies, it is the rhythmic
complexity that gives the work its real character. An
example of this complexity occurs in the B section.
Here the straight sixteenth notes in the clarinet and
right hand of the piano are organized in groups of
threes instead of the usual fours. These are set
against a steady eighth-note pattern in the violin.
These patterns become a rhythmic stretto that, along
with the harmonic clashes, bring the music to its
climax at the end of the B section. The movement
ends with a quiet return of section A, gently fading
away to a pianissimo.
Half Moon at Checkerboard Mesa - Phillip Kent Bimstein (b. 1947)
Half Moon at Checkerboard Mesa is a fantasy for
clarinet, frogs, crickets, and coyotes (although it
also includes the sounds of rocks, rivers, and an echo
of southwestern thunder). Bimstein recorded the
natural sounds near his home in southern Utah, and
then entered them into his computer, with which he
shaped and processed the sounds into musical phrases
and rhythms. Then he wrote a score for a live
musician to perform in concert with a taped
arrangement of the natural sounds.
Bimstein composed Half Moon at Checkerboard Mesa as a
part of his three-year Meet The Composer residency,
which celebrates the landscapes of southern Utah. It
was originally written for Sierra Winds' oboist
Stephen Caplan, who premiered the work in Las Vegas,
Nevada in 1997. Bimstein arranged Half Moon at
Checkerboard Mesa for clarinet for Michael Dean. The
work has also been arranged for other solo instruments
such as horn, trombone, bassoon, flute, and violin.
The music and tape for Half Moon at Checkerboard Mesa
is available from:
Franklin Stark Music
P.O. Box 301
Springdale, UT 84767
The alternative classical music of environmentalist
mayor and former MTV rocker Phillip Kent Bimstein has
been performed at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center,
Aspen Music Festival, American Dance Festival, and the
Bang on a Can Festival. Bimstein has received grants
and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts,
Meet The Composer, Continental Harmony,and Austria's
Prix Ars Electronica. His CD, Garland Hirschi's Cows,
released by Starkland in 1997, garnered rave reviews
around the world. Bimstein has been featured on
National Public Radio's All Things Considered, in
Parade and Outside magazines. Information about his
music and other projects can be found at his website:
Trio - Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
Though considered a Soviet composer, Aram Ilich
Khachaturian, (1903-78) thought of himself as an
Armenian. And it is the folk music of his native
land, Armenia, that infuses Khachaturian's music with
a vitality and richness that has charmed and delighted
audiences around the world. A work that certainly
reflects this folk-inspired dynamism is his Trio for
Clarinet, Violin, and Piano. Khachaturian composed
the trio in 1932 while he was a student at the Moscow
Conservatory studying composition under Nikolai
Myaskovsky. Prokofiev thought enough of the young
composer's trio to recommend it be programmed on a
concert in Paris. Khachaturian's trio continued to be
programmed by an ever-widening circle of musicians and
has become a staple of the repertoire for clarinet,
violin, and piano.
Notes by the Red Mesa Trio