CHIAROSCURO, Chamber Music by Richard Lavenda is a bright and engaging new album of some of composer Richard Lavenda's favorite chamber works–all written for personal friends. The title track refers to the visual art technique of a strong contrast between dark and light, and this motif aptly describes the listening experience.
The opening quartet, written for the unusual ensemble of alto flute, bassoon, vibraphone, and double bass, is bold–says the composer, "CHIAROSCURO explores many of the timbre and textural combinations afforded me by the unusual ensemble we created. The alternating fast and slow sections differ in affect and character, and while I would hesitate to label either as the light or the dark areas that define the eponymous painting style there certainly are audible shadowings, blurred borders, and complementarities."
A native of New Jersey, Lavenda received degrees from Dartmouth College, Rice University, and the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty of the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University in 1987, where he is Professor of Composition and Theory.