Harrison writes: 'Owl of the Hazels uses traditional Lithuanian songs that tell of a bride’s journey from first love to the walk home from the church after the wedding (Anksta ryta keliau /I woke up early) and finally a week later, to her lamenting the loss of her mother and family home (Prapuoliau, motula / I am lost, mother). The title refers to the bride reminiscing about the owl in the hazel trees near her parent’s house. The work was premiered by its dedicatee, Ian Mitchell and Tim Jones at the International Bass Clarinet Convention, De Doelen Concert Hall, Rotterdam, 21st October 2005.’
Ian Mitchell is a leading performer on all members of the clarinet family and has made recordings with most of them. Here, a miscellany of pieces, in several styles of music from the Romantic to the Modern including the jazz-influenced, duets with voice, Cuban dances and other ensemble pieces, demonstrates the range and mellifluousness of the bass clarinet. The works on this CD are by leading American and British composers and some who deserve wider recognition based on the fine pieces presented here. Included is a suite by William O. Smith, better known as jazz legend Bill Smith, for two bass clarinets.
Ian Mitchell has for many years also led the Gemini ensemble which is very highly regarded in the UK for its work in contemporary music. Guest appearances from ‘friends’ complete a fine line up of expert musicians: Ian Mitchell, Ileana Ruhemann, Aleksander Szram, Caroline Balding, Yuko Inoue, Sophie Harris, with Friends - Ruth Ehrlich, Mick Foster, Naomi Sullivan, Alison Wells.