I’ve watched David Occhipinti play his guitar. It’s like all he wants to do is get into that fingerboard and find new combinations. The music he wrote for Camera is like that, but beyond the guitar, David’s got a clarinet, a viola, a bass, a violin, a cello, marimba and bassoon to get into, and he’s got the absolute cream of this country’s classical players with him. “Nimbus,” that opens his Banff Suite, has the instrumental wit of a Poulenc Sextet. The Suite develops in that worldly way of French chamber music, tight here, letting go there, but being contemporary, it’s more diverse, and the guitar gives it a jazzy feeling. It’s like Hindemith and Bill Frissel are there too. The seven sections of the Metamorphosuite are more about rhythm than melody, about shifting textures, pitch and chord progressions that suggest a melodic flow incidental to the somewhat atonal series Occiphinti is fooling around while he’s making little discoveries on the guitar. “Interlude” dips into the moody melodic mode of Dvorak’s Cypresses, with its sighing glissando’s and weeping strings. “Chrysalis” has an excellent duologue between guitar and Aline Homzy’s violin. On the concluding standalone Geometric Farms, that chugs along like Chostakovich, Occhipinti lets the his autoharp sweep through the seductive murmurings of the string quartet. Others, I am not the first, have noticed that Occhipinti’s music is like no other, be it classical or jazz or whatever: it is accomplished and original.
CAMERA’S personnel are impressive. David Occhipinti – guitar/compositions, Max Christie – clarinet, Steven Dann – viola, Andrew Downing – bass, Amanda Goodburn – violin, David Hetherington – cello, Aline Homzy – violin, Beverly Johnston – marimba/percussion, Nadina Mackie-Jackson – bassoon.