NOTES ON A TRIANGLE by Jim Centorino


“The story behind the story” of Notes on a Triangle: Way back when I was a composition student at the Boston Conservatory, my composition mentor, Dr. Hugo F. Norden, said to me, “Jim, if you want to be a composer worth your salt, pick the instrument you like the least and write something for it. Which instrument would that be?” I replied, “Clarinets. They’re squeaky and squawky and have altogether too many buttons.” He laughed and replied, “Go write a piece for a clarinet.”

What came of my efforts was Notes on a Triangle for Bb clarinet and piano, three movements. Since Norden was a scholar of the golden mean and natural proportions, I based the piece on the 3-4-5 right triangle and the golden mean. It turned out to be one of the best received pieces I ever wrote, having been requested to be performed at the Boston Conservatory and the International Clarinet Congress in 1991.

I had a copy sitting on my classroom desk when I taught Physics and the girl on the other side of my desk saw it and asked what it was. I told her that it was a piece for clarinet and piano. She said, “My dad (James Kanter) plays the clarinet.” I gave her a copy and within a couple of days her dad, who, it turned out, happened to be with the LA Phil/Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, asked if I wanted to record it. Of course I said “YES!” He recorded it with superb pianist Carol Cole. It turned out great but had no proper home until now. Meanwhile, since the clarinet and cello have similar ranges, cellist Joel Moerschel of the BSO and Lisa Caliri of the Boston Conservatory faculty, also recorded it, so both versions are on this album.



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