Reacting to the Landscape
"This is a must-have album, not just for the wonderful playing, but because the choices of repertoire were intentional and put together in a masterful way. Combined with the powerful artistry of both Groom and Piazza-Pick, this makes for an exciting musical journey for all listeners."
— International Clarinet Association Journal
"a masterfully accomplished album that showcases the dynamic prowess of both the performers and composers while also highlighting women writers."
— International Alliance for Women Journal
Whistling Hens’ debut album, Reacting to the Landscape, is available as physical CDs and digital download. This long-awaited project includes nine world premiere recordings of works by seven living American women composers: Victoria Bond, Ashi Day, Melika Fitzhugh, Cherise Leiter, Dannielle McBryan, Diana Rosenblum, and Jennifer Stevenson.
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Showcasing five title commissions, soprano Jennifer Piazza-Pick and clarinetist Natalie Groom masterfully present a wide variety of styles, sounds, and stories: a short dialog between a “joyfully callous” soprano spurning the clarinetist (Thursday); toe-tapping nonsense syllable scat sounds (Scat 2); a letter to a war-ridden country (Letter from Beirut); a mini play on themes of the resilience of women and girls (The Green Child); five American folk songs, from sassy to serene to saucy (American Folk Suite); an embrace of the warmth of womanly saints (A Woman Keeps Opening); an exploration of Eve’s first day on earth (Eve’s Diary); heartfelt observations of nature (Say I Am a River); and a final lullaby on the passing of loved ones (It’s Bedtime).
The album title, Reacting to the Landscape, comes from an interview in which former Baltimore Symphony Orchestra conductor Marin Alsop (the first female to lead a major orchestra in the U.S.) said,
“People ask why a course like this [for women conductors] is necessary, and I think it's a disingenuous question. It's only necessary because of the reality. It's not something I'm making up. I'm just reacting to the landscape...Because I have quite a thick skin, I don't mind being the one out front, trying to elbow my way in. But I think, as that person out front, it's important for me to create a pathway for people coming through. I don't want it to be so hard for the next generations.”
So why women composers? Why now? Whistling Hens is just reacting to the landscape.