Esther Lamneck, Clarinet

Cigar Smoke

Innova 673


Esther Lamneck, Clarinet

Cigar Smoke


Clarinet and Electronic Music Compositions



[1]     CIGAR SMOKE       clarinet and computer        Robert Rowe     10:18     


[2]     MUSICOMETRY I      clarinet and tape              Lawrence Fritts   6:12


[3-5]                             TRIO FOR CLARINET                 Cort Lippe/Esther Lamneck    12:29


                                 clarinet and two computers

                        movements        I. 4:35  II. 2:42 III. 5:11


[6]     ABYSS                     clarinet and tape               Dinu Ghezzo       8:10


[7]     EVENT HORIZON III   clarinet and tape       Orlando Legname   7:03


[8]     LIFELINES               clarinet and tape              Lawrence Moss   7:45


[9]    CRACK HAMMER    clarinet and tape               Zack Browning   8:27

                                                                                                            total duration:    60:40


 Sound: Vecchio Mulino Produzione, Balbano-Lucca, Italy 

      Recorded 2002-2005, Mastering, 2006



Clarinet and Electronic Music Compositions


From interactive computer works to computer generated tape pieces, these new compositions create venues for the clarinet in exciting and energetic settings using both traditional and nontraditional sounds as well as notated scores and improvisation. All of the compositions on this CD were composed for clarinetist Esther Lamneck. Ms. Lamneck’s collaborations with the composers have resulted in a CD of virtuosic works that make a substantial contribution to the repertoire for clarinet and electronic music.


The New York Times calls Esther Lamneck “an astonishing virtuoso”. Winner of the prestigious Pro Musicis Award, she has appeared as a soloist with major orchestras, with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, and with renowned chamber music artists throughout the world. A versatile performer and an advocate of contemporary music, she is known for her work with electronic media including interactive arts, movement, dance and improvisation. Ms. Lamneck makes frequent solo appearances at music festivals worldwide and maintains an active solo career performing and presenting Master Classes in Universities and Conservatories throughout the United States and Europe. An artist who is sought after by the leading composers of our times, her collaborations have led to hundreds of new compositions in many genres for the clarinet and the tárogató.


Esther Lamneck is one of the few performers who plays the Hungarian Tárogató, a single reed woodwind instrument with a hauntingly beautiful sound. New compositions written for the instrument explore facets of new music performance such as improvisation, electronics and interactive computer programs and are available on CD.

Awarded the Naumburg Scholarship, Ms. Lamneck received her B.M., M.M. and Doctoral degrees from the Juilliard School of Music. She currently serves as Director of Instrumental Studies and the Graduate Music and Dance Program in Italy for New York University.  Artistic director of the NYU New Music and Dance Ensemble, the group maintains its residence at the University during the season and in Italy during the summers. Ms. Lamneck has worked together with choreographer Douglas Dunn for numerous years creating multimedia productions for Festivals in Italy. Her work in the area of Interactive Technology includes research with Antonio Camurri’s Program, “Eyesweb” which allows for gestural control of live sound and video processing. Ms. Lamneck has appeared on major television and radio programs both here and abroad and is an internationally renowned recording artist.


Cigar Smoke for Clarinet and Computer, Robert Rowe

Cigar Smoke (2004) was written at the request of Esther Lamneck, to whom the work is dedicated. In the piece, notated sections alternate with cadenzas in which the soloist provokes and responds to sounds arising from the computer.  These in turn consist of processed clarinet material and synthesized gestures generated during the performance. Software for the piece was written in C++ by the composer. The title refers to a large-scale work I envision based on the story of a different composer living under an occupation who steps outside for a smoke and is mistakenly shot by a nervous soldier (as happened to Webern). This music would accompany the moment when the composer begins to idle outside.


Robert Rowe received degrees in music history & theory (B.M. Wisconsin 1976), composition (M.A. Iowa 1978), and music & cognition (Ph.D. MIT 1991). From 1978 to 1987 he lived and worked in Europe, associated with the Institute of Sonology in Utrecht, the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, the ASKO Ensemble of Amsterdam, and with IRCAM in Paris, where he developed control level software for the 4X machine. In 1990 his composition Flood Gate won first prize in the “live electroacoustic” category of the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition. In 1991 he became the first composer to complete the Ph.D. in Music and Cognition at the MIT Media Laboratory and is currently Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Music Technology program at New York University. His music is performed throughout North America, Europe, and Japan and is available on compact discs from New World, Roméo, Quindecim, Harmonia Mundi, and the International Computer Music Association, and his book/CD-ROM projects Interactive Music Systems (1993) and Machine Musicianship (2001) are available from the MIT Press.


Musicometry I, Lawrence Fritts

From Bach to Stockhausen, improvisation and composition have been inextricably linked.  One of the most important current advocates of improvisation in composition is the clarinetist, Esther Lamneck, who integrates improvisation with fixed medium electronic music compositions, including my works Mappaemundi and Doctrine of Chances.  In her initial improvisations that formed the basis of Musicometry I, I found that her playing reflected the measure of such important qualities of my musical language as timbral texture, rhythmic gesture, pitch contour, and harmonic structure.  Using these improvisations as the compositional basis of Musicometry I, I similarly sought to represent the measure of these qualities that I found in her own playing.  The result is a truly collaborative work, in which the performer and composer adopt the essential aspects of the musical language of the other, as expressed in the dedication: "To, from, and for Esther Lamneck."


Lawrence Fritts is Associate Professor and Area Head of Composition and Theory at the University of Iowa, where he has directed the Electronic Music Studios since 1994.  He received his Ph.D. in Composition from the University of Chicago, where he studied with Shulamit Ran, John Eaton, and Ralph Shapey.  His writings appear in Music Theory Spectrum, Computer Music Journal, Journal SEAMUS, and papers presented to the American Mathematical Society, and Systems Research in the Arts.  His music is recorded on the Innova, Frog Peak, Tempo Primo, and Albany labels.


Trio for Clarinet and Two Computers, Corte Lippe/ Esther Lamneck

Trio for Clarinet and Two Computers is an interactive work for clarinet and computers created by Esther Lamneck and Cort Lippe in 2002. The improvised clarinet part is influenced and driven by the extraordinary sound environment created by Cort Lippe. The electronic part was created using Max/Msp, which was originally developed by Miller Puckette, whose dedication to computer music makes pieces like this, in which the computer can truly be treated as a musical instrument, possible. The computers track parameters of the clarinet, such as pitch, amplitude, spectrum, density, rests, articulation, tempi, etc., using this information to trigger specific electronic events and continuously control the computer sound output by directly controlling digital synthesis and compositional algorithms in real-time. The clarinetist interacts with the computers, triggering and continuously shaping the computer output. The instrumentalist/computer relationship moves constantly on a continuum between the poles of an extended solo and a duo.


Cort Lippe has been active in the field of interactive computer music for more than 25 years. He studied composition with Larry Austin in the USA and studied and worked in The Netherlands, at the Instituut voor Sonologie with G.M. Koenig and Paul Berg in the fields of computer and formalized music. He lived in France from 1983-94, where he spent three years at the Centre d'Etudes de Mathematique et Automatique Musicales (CEMAMu), founded by I. Xenakis, and nine years at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM), founded by P. Boulez. His compositions have received numerous international prizes, including: the Irino Prize (Japan), Bourges Electroacoustic Prize (France), El Callejon Del Ruido Competition (Mexico), USA League-ISCM Competition (USA), and the Leonie Rothschild Competition (USA). His music has been premiered at major festivals worldwide including the International Computer Music Conference, the ISCM World Music Days, Gaudeamus Festival, Music Today Festival of Tokyo, Electroacoustic Festival of Bourges, and Huddersfield Festival. His works have been recorded by ADDA, ALM, Apollon, Big Orbit, CBS-Sony, Centaur, Classico, EMF, Hungaroton Classic, Harmonia Mundi, ICMC2000, ICMC2003, IKG Editions, MIT Press, Neuma and SEAMUS. Since 1999 he has been a visiting professor in the Sonology Department of Kunitachi College of Music, Tokyo, and since 1994 he has taught in the Department of Music of the University at Buffalo, New York where he is an Associate Professor of Composition and Director of the Hiller Computer Music Studios.


Abyss, Dinu Ghezzo

This work was commissioned by and dedicated to Esther Lamneck. It is an electro-acoustic piece for Clarinet and Electronic Sound and the pre-recorded material uses Ms. Lamneck’s performance of an earlier work of mine, “Sound Etchings”, also commissioned and dedicated to her. The work uses samples of cadences and other fragments from the music of the late Italian Renaissance interwoven with my own studio’s electronic sounds. ABYSS is the second work inspired by the dark theater play “Samson Agonistes” (ca. 1670) by John Milton, and reflects Samson’s mythological tragedy. The work employs improvisation as the performer follows a graphic score with motivic suggestions. The sections, played without any interruptions, are as follows: I. Intro, II. Entry into Abyss, III. Samson’s Monologue, IV. The Search, V. Dialogues,

VI. The Search Continues and VII. The Sacrifice.


Dinu Ghezzo received his education in theory, conducting, and in composition at the Romanian Conservatory in Bucharest, and subsequently earned a Ph.D. in composition at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is a professor of music at New York University, and director of the NYU Composition Program. Dr. Ghezzo is much involved in national and international music projects, as founder and director of ANMC Inc. (American New Music Consortium), the INMC Inc. (International Music Consortium), and past director of Todi International Music Days, Gubbio Festival, Molfetta Festival, CIPAM Festival in Montevarchi (Italy), Constanta International Music Days, The Week of Romanian American Music in Oradea, Romania, etc. He is a recipient of many awards, prizes and commissions: ASCAP awards, CAPS, NYSCA and NEA, commissions from many leading international ensembles and soloists, and residencies as guest composer at many festivals and music events. His music is published by Editions Salabert of Paris, by Musica Scritta, the AIM Press (Italy), TGE (Milan, Rome) and by Seesaw Music Corporation, New York. His compositions are featured on several Orion Master Recording albums, on several Capstone Records, as well as on TGE (Tirreno Gruppo Editoriale), WDR Cologne and Grenadilla label.


Event Horizon III, Orlando Legname

Event Horizon is a series of compositions for computer generated tape and solo instrument. Event Horizon III, for clarinet and tape, was composed at the request of clarinetist Esther Lamneck, who participated actively in the composition process. The computer generated tape uses a technique called granular synthesis, in which very small "grains" of waveforms are developed to construct the sounds. In addition, complex sounds are created with changing harmonics that blend with unique clarinet articulations and multiphonic textures. The form includes a cadenza in the middle, where the virtuosity and extended techniques of Ms. Lamneck are explored.


Orlando Legname, composer conductor and theorist, is a Brazilian of Italian extraction who has taught at State University of Sčo Paulo, University of Maryland, New York University, and now holds a position at SUNY Oneonta. He was guest conductor of the UNESP Chamber Ensemble in recordings and concerts, and Assistant Conductor of the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble. He received the first prize in the Walsum Composition Competition in Maryland. For 15 years he has done research in Physics of Music called Density Degree of Intervals and Chords that is always applied in his compositions.


Lifelines for Clarinet and Tape, Lawrence Moss

Lifelines for Clarinet and Tape was composed in 1998 for clarinetist Esther Lamneck. It is a work with intricately interwoven lines between the tape score and the clarinet, using a diverse palette of clarinet techniques including improvisation.


Lawrence Moss was born in Los Angeles.  He received his Ph. D. in Composition at the University of Southern California, where his principal teachers were Leon Kirchner and Ingolf Dahl.  He went on to teach at Mills College, Yale University, and the University of Maryland, where he is currently Professor of Composition. Moss has been the recipient of numerous fellowships, including two Guggenheim awards, a Fulbright scholarship and four grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.  His works range from symphonic scores and operas to music for solo instruments, and include works for tape and multimedia.  These have been performed throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia and have been recorded on the CRI, EMF, Orion, Desto, Opus One, AmCam and Spectrum labels. A CD entirely devoted to his newer chamber works, Miracles, was recently issued by Capstone Recordings (CPS 8619). Other CDs containing his music are:  American Camerata Performs (ACR-10305CD), The 20th Century Piano  (ACR-10312) and 20th Century American 4-hand Piano (LR859CD). Moss’s works are published by Theo. Presser, McGinnis & Marx, Alfred Publishing Co., Roncorp Inc., Northeastern Music Programs and Seesaw Music Corp.


Crack Hammer, Zack Browning

Crack Hammer (2004) for clarinet and computer-generated sound was commissioned by NYU clarinetist Esther Lamneck. This composition continues a series of works written over the last ten years that explore the application of magic squares to musical structure. A magic square consists of a series of numbers arranged so that the sum of each row, column and diagonal is the same amount. The unique position of each number within the square is paralleled in the musical score by a particular style, rhythm, density, timbre and orchestration. Of the enormous number of magic squares it is possible to form, seven have been associated with the seven bodies of the Ptolemaic Universe (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, The Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon). These "Ptolemaic Magic Squares" appear in De Occulta Philosophia, a book on magic by the Renaissance polymath Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa Von Nettesheim published in 1531.  The “Magic Square of Mars” provides the structure and inspiration for the composition. The score and CD part were prepared with the assistance of David Bohn and Cyrus Pireh. The tape part was produced using GACSS (Genetic Algorithms in Composition and Sound Synthesis) which is an original computer music software package developed by Benjamin Grosser at the Beckman Institute of the University of Illinois.


Zack Browning is an Associate Professor of Music Composition and Theory at the University of Illinois. He received his Bachelors Degree from Florida State University and his Masters and Doctorate from the University of Illinois. Recent awards include a 2001 Illinois Arts Council Composer Fellowship and a 2002 Chamber Music America Commission for “Back Speed Double Circuit” for the Bang On A Cans All-Stars. In 2003, Browning's music was performed at the Bonk Festival of New Music in Tampa, the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) Festival in Miami, the Electronic Music Midwest Festival in Chicago and the Three Two Festival in New York City. “Network Slammer” was performed at the 2004 Gaudeamus Music Week in Amsterdam and Browning’s recent CD “Banjaxed” on Capstone Records contains eight of his original compositions for voice, instruments and computer-generated sounds.


“CIGAR SMOKE” has been produced in part by grants from the New York University Research Challenge Fund and the New York State Music Fund.