Notes and Reviews
"The best Piazzolla in NYC." Lucid Culture
"Brilliant...playing with refinement and flair...evoking a panache in the contemporary works.” The New York Times
CAFE review from THE CLARINET Magazine.
March 2011, Gail Lehto Zugger.
This recording is a calming, pleasant and eclectic collection. Piercy's versatility is evident in this diverse collection of music. The progression if music on this disc has a natural ease, particularly the opening French works, which effortlessly flow from one to the next. Piercy's flexible sound contains a variety of colors, achieving an even tone from one register to the next. The tango movements are spectacular and are the highlights of this recording! The CAFE recording presents a diverse combination of music that shows both how versatile these artists are, and how effective the combination of clarinet and guitar can be.
CAFE review from Lucid Culture.
CD Review: Thomas Piercy and Vilian Ivantchev’s CAFE Album
June 15, 2010
A collection of brilliant segues. For a casual listener, this is the perfect rainy day album, pleasantly pensive with a balance of melancholy and more upbeat material, especially toward the end. For more adventurous fans, it’s a smartly innovative concept that works all the way through. Clarinetist Thomas Piercyand acoustic guitarist Vilian Ivantchev link fourteen pieces together as a suite, beginning with the French late Romantics, taking a detour into the German baroque before following the gypsy path to Brazil and from there to Argentina, where the trail ends on a note that threatens to jump out of its shoes with joy. It’s a very subtly fun ride.
Having worked with both Leonard Bernstein and KRS-One, Piercy is diversely talented. He’s as strong in his upper register, with a buoyant, flute-like presence on Telemann’s A Minor Sonata, or soaring with bandoneon textures on the Piazzolla pieces here that close the album, as he is mining the darker sonorities of Bartok’s Roumanian Folk Dances suite, or Erik Satie’s Gnossienne or Gymnopedie No. 1. Ivantchev displays almost superhuman discipline, restraining himself to terse, rock-solid chordal work or precise arpeggios, with the exception of the Piazzolla where he gets to cut loose a little more – but not much. Ultimately, this album is all about connections, and the duo make them everywhere. Debussy’s Le Fille aux Cheveux de Lin (The Blonde Girl) follows so seamlessly out of Satie that it could practically be the same piece. Likewise, following the last of Bartok’s gypsy dance transcriptions with Villa-Lobos’ Modinha is so logical that it’s almost funny when you think about it. The duo close the album with two brief arrangements of songs by vintage Argentinan tanguero Carlos Gardel (Mi Manita Pampa and Sus Ojos Se Cerraron) into a stripped-down yet melodically rich version of Piazzolla’s four-part suite Histoire du Tango and then, seemingly as an encore, Jacinto Chiclana which ends the album on a note equally balmy and bracing. Piercy’s viscerally intuitive feel for the tension-and-release of tango lets the guitar hold things together this time, giving him a chance to launch into some quiet rejoicing.
Café review from EXCLAIM!
By Glen Hall
"Clarinettist Thomas Piercy and guitarist Vilian Ivantchev have a remarkably eclectic repertoire, ranging from Poulenc's "Mouvements Perpetuéls No. 1" and Telemann's "Sonata in A minor" ― all attractive, if a bit ordinary ― to Ravel's Spanish-y "Pièce en forme de Habañera" and six of Bartok's rhythmically insistent "Roumanian Folk Dances." It's in one of the dances, "Pe loc," where an interesting aspect of the duo's sound shows itself. Although Piercy may come across as a "capital C" classical clarinettist, that mask drops momentarily to reveal some klezmer-style pitch bending ― nice. Really nice is the inclusion of strong readings of three Villa-Lobos pieces, which are played with genuine emotion and careful attention to their demanding dynamics. But it is the twosome's interpretations of works from Astor Piazolla's "Histoire du Tango" that add spicy heat to the collection. This is a CD you can put on anytime, for a dinner with friends or a quiet Sunday alone with a book and your cat."
Music for Clarinet and Guitar.
Thomas Piercy, clarinet
Vilian Ivantchev, guitar
FRANCIS POULENC (1899 - 1963) Mouvements Perpétuel No. 1 (Assez modéré).
Composed for piano in 1918 as part of Trois Mouvements Perpétuels, Op. 14.
ERIK SATIE (1866 - 1925) Gnossienne No. 1. Composed for piano in 1890 as part of Trois Gnossiennes.
Gymnopédie No. 1. Composed for piano in 1888 as part of Trois Gymnopédies.
CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862 - 1918) La fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair).
Composed for piano between 1909 and 1913; included in the two books of Préludes.
MAURICE RAVEL (1875 - 1937) Pièce en forme de Habañera.
Originally composed as “Vocalise étude en forme de Habañera" for bass voice and piano in 1907.
A song without words, Ravel later arranged the work for cello and piano.
GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681 - 1767) Sonata in A Minor.
Composed for oboe and continuo.
BELA BARTOK (1881 – 1945) Roumanian Folk Dances.
Composed for piano in 1915; later arranged for orchestra by Bartók. Based on folksongs and dances collected by Bartók from peasants and Gypsies.
1. Jocul cu bâta (Stick Dance) 2. Brâul (Sash Dance) 3. Pe loc (In one spot)
4. Buciumeana (Horn Dance) 5. Poarga Românească (Roumanian Polka) 6. Manuntelul (Fast Dance)
HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887 - 1959)
Modinha. Composed in 1925 for voice and piano as part of Seréstas.
Evocação. Composed in 1933 for voice and piano as part of Modinhas e Canções.
Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5. Aria (Cantilena). Composed between 1938 and 1945 for soprano and eight cellos.
Later arranged for soprano and guitar by Villa-Lobos.
CARLOS GARDEL (1890 - 1935) Mi Manta Pampa. Composed in 1923 for voice and piano.
Sus ojos se cerraron. Composed in 1935 for voice and piano.
ASTOR PIAZZOLLA (1921 - 1992)
Histoire du Tango. Composed in 1986 for flute and guitar.
Jacinto Chiclana. Composed in 1963 for voice and piano.
Recorded and Mastered at MacIntyre Music by Reed Robins.
NY, NY July 21 - 22, 2007 www.macintyremusic.com
Arrangements: Thomas Piercy; Vilian Ivantchev
Cover/booklet design: Junya Kurita. Cover art: Thomas Piercy
Producer: Thomas Piercy
Clarinet: Rossi Bb English-bore Rosewood
Mouthpiece: Lelandais/Holdsworth - 1010. Reeds: Handmade. Ligature: String.
Guitar: 1969 Walter Vogt
クラリネット: Bb イングリッシュボア・ロッシ・クラリネット(ローズウッド)
トナダ・プロダクションズ New York, NY, U.S.A.
Microphones: Clarinet / Neumann TLM103; Guitar / Neumann KM-184.
Microphone Preamp: Millennia Media - HD-V3. Audio Interface: MOTU – 828 MK2.
Computer: Apple MacIntosh. Software: DAW: MOTU - Digital Performer.
Plug ins: Audioease - Altiverb 6; PSP - VintageWarmer 2; Waves - L3 Ultramaximizer.
Monitoring: ADAM Professional Audio System 1-10 speakers; Mackie Big Knob Studio Control Center.
Control Surface: Mackie - MCU and 2 extenders.
THOMAS PIERCY is a critically acclaimed musician with orchestral, concerto, solo recital and chamber music appearances throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. His performances have been described by critics as "passionate," "pulling out all the stops," and “the best Piazzolla in NYC,” and by the New York Times as “brilliant,” “playing with refinement and flair” and “evoking a panache in the contemporary works.” Mr. Piercy performs varied concerts of standard classical music, jazz-inspired programs, contemporary works, pieces written specifically for him and his own original arrangements, compositions and collaborations. He performs and records on rare English-bore rosewood clarinets made for him by Luis Rossi of Santiago, Chile. He studied at the Juilliard School and Mannes College of Music in NYC in addition to Shenandoah Conservatory and Virginia Commonwealth University. He studied extensively with the English clarinetist Gervase De Peyer; additional studies were with Stephen Johnston, Kalmen Opperman and Leon Russianoff. Mr. Piercy has performed at many of the world’s acclaimed concert halls including Carnegie Hall (NY, NY), Lincoln Center (NY, NY), the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC.), Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Wigmore Hall (London, England), Accademia di Santa Cecilia (Rome, Italy) and Parthenon (Tokyo, Japan). A frequent performer of new music, Piercy has premiered numerous compositions, many of them written for him. Pulitzer Prize winner and Grammy Award-winning composer Ned Rorem wrote his only clarinet and piano piece, "Four Colors," for Mr. Piercy; the work had its premiere at a concert celebration for Mr. Rorem at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Piercy has recorded many of Rorem’s chamber works featuring the clarinet. A versatile artist defying categorization - the clarinetist on the Emmy Award-winning Juno Baby CD and DVDs; performing Mozart with mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade; playing Broadway songs with Raoul Julia; working with the composer Leonard Bernstein; appearing in a KRS-ONE rap music video; performing concert improvisations with pianist Donal Fox; recording with members of Maroon 5 - as an instrumentalist, singer, director/music director/conductor and actor, he has performed and recorded for Broadway and Off-Broadway, commercial recordings, television, radio, videos, and movie soundtracks.
VILIAN IVANTCHEV began his music studies in his native country, Bulgaria, at the Lubomir Pipkov National Music School. When he moved to New York City at age 11, he joined the honors program at the Mannes College of Music Preparatory Division. After graduating from the La Guardia High School for Music & Art and The Performing Arts, he was awarded a scholarship to continue in the Bachelor of Music program at Mannes College of Music.Mr. Ivantchev has played in some of the most prestigious venues in New York City, including Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, Symphony Space and The National Arts Club. He is a recipient of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Award that enabled him to perform in chamber ensembles at Alice Tully Hall. Recent performances include appearances with the Orion String Quartet and the Cygnus Ensemble at Weill Recital Hall. Mr. Ivantchev has recorded several CDs of the music of Terry Champlin with the Mannes Guitar Quartet, violinist Sabina Torosjan, guitarist and vocalist Helen Avakian, composer and guitarist Terry Champlin, and legendary percussionist Jeff Haynes. As a member of "Duo Accord" with violinist Sabina Torosjan, Vilian recorded a 70th birthday commemorative CD of the music of composer David Loeb.