Hirthe’s room-rattling digressions made for some of the most forceful moments in Fitch’s beautifully conceived chamber work.
...Hirthe generated tones that sounded like the authentic vocalizations of a spirit, gurgling unintelligibly from the other side.
Ueno’s entrancing work challenges the performer with long passages of extended techniques, including throat singing, the results of which are fascinating. Hirthe brilliantly captured the bubbling sounds of the Earth as it erupted into an ocean of avant-garde sonorities. He moved seamlessly from singing to producing angry blood-curdling screams from his clarinet.
No Exit’s powerful clarinetist Gunnar Owen Hirthe opened each half with solo works by Evan Ziporyn. Like Henry Cowell and Colin McPhee before him, Ziporyn has built his compositional world connecting with other musical cultures. Four Impersonations (2002) explores how a clarinet might sound like a Japanese flute (shakuhachi), an East African lyre (nyatiti), or Balinese gamelan. With a beautiful vibrato, Hirthe shaped each of the distinct movements with conviction. Tsmindao Ghmerto (1994) tackles Georgian Orthodox chant by asking the performer to sing while playing bass clarinet. Mimicking polyphony, Hirthe had to hum screamfully while he played harmonious multiphonics or quickly flipped between two notes. It was like a fascinating, euphonious, barking seal.