Huskless!: Live in Concert

Lori Freedman

CD (ART 020)

  • Label: Artifact Music
  • ART 020
  • 1999
  • UCC 776994000202
  • Total duration: 60:47
  • Jewel case
  • 125 mm × 142 mm × 10 mm
  • 95 g

On the web

In the press


Tim Brady, Musicworks, no. 77, June 1, 2000

Lori Freedman is ready for the 21st century, but is the 21st century ready for her? An accomplished bass clarinet soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, an imaginative improviser and a composer of considerable savy, she represents the best aspects of our new, multi-faceted century. Her new cd Huskless! is an impressive sampler of compositions and improvisations, all recorded live, that present her in a variety of settings, from solo to duo and ensemble, through to works for clarinet and tape… fantastic sounds full of rich multiphonics, authoritatively and beautifully controlled pitch bends… compositions with a strong sense of counterpoint… improvisations with some of Canada’s finest musicians (Marilyn Lerner, Paul Plimley, Pierre Tanguay and Chris Cauley), with a refined polyphonic sense of interplay within a free sense of form and harmony… The cd is a very creative bit of music programming and it will undoubtedly confuse the maistream media who love to pigeon-hole artists. But Lori’s music, and we the listening public, are the richer for her artistic audacity.


Paris Transatlantic, January 1, 2000

Despite the soft-rock-style cover shot of Lori gazing sheepishly downwards, and the handwritten (on fluo yellow!) track listing which (deliberately?) blurs the distinction between what is improvised and what is composed, ‘Huskless!’ is a tough but highly rewarding and well-recorded album of excellent contemporary clarinet playing. Featured composers include Claudio Ambrosini, Paul Steenhuisen, and Mike Lowenstern (himself a fine clarinettist), and, apart from Ms. Freedman’s outstanding virtuosity, special mention should be made of pianist Marilyn Lerner on ‘eFeFeF’. Recommended.


Tamara Bernstein, , September 1, 1999

Huskless! is the perfect title for the first solo cd from one of Canada’s most outstanding new music practicioners. I say ‘practicioner’ because Lori Freedman defies easy categorization. As an interpreter she’s a composer’s dream – John Corigliano called her “the best thing that ever happened to new music” after her electrifying performance of his Concerto at the Winnipeg new music festival in 1995. But Freedman, who was born in Toronto and is currently based in Winnipeg, is also a brilliant improviser – her instrument of choice being the bass clarinet. And as a composer, she frequently collaborates with theatre artists, filmmakers and dancers.

Of all her musical virtues – a gorgeous, full-bodied sound, massive dynamic range, bull’s-eye technique, imagination – ultimately it’s Freedman’s honesty that gets you in the gut. Especially when she is in full improvisatory flight, she’s a fascinating combination of emotional vulnerability and absolute fearlessness. And sexuality. But the stories Freedman’s body tells in performance are not the threadbare clichés of female seduction, but rather a celebration of what is possible, a joyous invitation to life in all its fullness… musical honesty that ensures that her extended clarinet techniques never sound gimmicky… shrieks like a banshee, whispers and caresses like a lover, scrabbles like a pig hunting truffles, wails like a klezmer, mutters like a madman, whistles eerily like a musical saw… in Ambrosini’s haunting Capriccio, detto l’ermafrodita (1983) it’s hard to believe that an acoustic instrument rather than a synthesizer, produces effects like the soft, flawlessly controlled glissandos that slowly scrape upward in multiphonics. In the composer’s words describing the contrasting sides of a complex personality, “a big dangerous animal and the lament of a wounded being, laughter and mystery, strong and gentle”. Freedman’s performance is riveting… wryly ironic… infallible musical instincts.