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Review of Perennials CD
in June 2014 The Flute View

reviewed by Tammy Evans Yonce

This newly-released collection of works for various combinations of flute, clarinet, and piano by Daniel Dorff is expertly executed by the Scott/Garrison Duo, joined by pianist Rajung Yang. Shannon Scott is Instructor of Clarinet at Washington State University, and Leonard Garrison is Associate Professor of Flute at the University of Idaho. Rajung Yang is Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Idaho.

Dorff’s music is fresh and highly listenable. This album primarily includes works written quite recently but there are a few works – Andante con Variazioni, Dances and Canons, and Pastorale (Souvenirs du Frög) – that date from earlier in Dorff’s catalogue. Each work is consistently a pleasure to hear. The title track was commissioned by Walfrid Kujala and Sherry Kujala for their friends Helen Ann Shanley and Richard Shanley, and Dorff explains that his approach to composition includes building repertoire that lasts, much like perennial plants. He expands this idea further to apply to the long-lasting relationships between people, and the work (as well as the album) suddenly had a name. This relationship-based, friendly approach to composition is apparent throughout this album.

Three Romances is a delightful collection of movements for flute and clarinet. They are highly contrasting and provide the performer with ample opportunity to be expressive and show different colors. It’s a very conversational piece and allows for much back-and-forth between the two players.

Scattered throughout the album are several two-part inventions by J.S. Bach that Dorff arranged for flute and clarinet. They are lovely to hear and would work very well in a recital setting either individually or grouped together.