Thursday 5 June 2014

Helen Habershon - Found in Sunlight

Helen Habershon - Found in Sunlight
Helen Habershon is a clarinettist with a distinguished performance history, she is also a composer and recorded her first album of songs in 2009. Her second album, Found in the Sunlight has just been released on Arts Record. Recorded by Habershon herself on clarinet with John Lenehan, piano, and Alexander Baillie, cello, it is very much an album of songs without words, many of them inspired by Habershon's late father's poems.

The disc opens with Floating in the Clouds a lyrical piece for clarinet and piano which has great melodic charm. It is quite a wistful piece with a sense of English pastoral music from the mid 20th century.

Next comes a group of piano solos. For Ever has a slight folk-pop influence to its appealing melody. Lenehan's fingerwork is very deft in the flowing and lyrically melodic solo Sunlit Waterfall whilst After the Clouds is a wistful folk-pop piece with some nice piano textures. Mountain stream  combines a felicitous melody with simple elegance.

Habershon's clarinet returns as she joins Lenehan for Glous, a gently evocative piece. Rainbow rain is an appealing piece for piano, clarinet and cello, the instrumental line-up providing a welcome change of texture.

Lenehan's solo piano returns in Dartmoor Stream, another evocative piece. When the Sun Goes Down is nicely passionate, combining the piano with Baillie's singing cello line. Night Sky is a solo sensitively played by Lenehan. Then Habershon gives us an unaccompanied clarinet solo in the haunting Baggy Point. Finally, the lyrical Love provides a concluding solo for Lenehan.

The pervading mood of these pieces is wistful melancholy.  I have to confess that listening to the whole disc, I did sometimes want some grit in the mixture with a greater variety of textures. The performances from Habershon, Lenehan and Baillie are superb. All of them are delicate little pieces, so it is rather a disc to dip into.

Helen Habershon - Floating in the Clouds
Helen Habershon - For Ever
Helen Habershon - Sunlit Waterfall
Helen Habershon - After the Clouds
Helen Habershon - Mountain Stream
Helen Habershon - Clouds
Helen Habershon - Rainbow Rain
Helen Habershon - Dartmoor Stream
Helen Habershon - When the Sun Goes Down
Helen Habershon - Night Sky
Helen Habershon - Baggy Point
Helen Habershon - Love
Helen Habershon (clarinet)
John Lenehan (piano)
Alexander Baillie (cello)
Arts Records
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