selected press

Par le sens dramaturgique du compositeur, la haute densité du discours musical de La Chute d’Icare (1988) laisse néanmoins prise à l’écoute ; les pics et les ruptures de régime ne manquent pas, sans parler de l’époustouflante cadence de la clarinette, où Carl Rosman semble repousser les limites techniques de l’instrument.
Pierre Rigaudière, Diapason, December 2010

A thwack and a howl and Barrett’s CD begins with the startling Interference, written for clarinettist Carl Rosman. It’s almost two minutes before a clarinet is heard, though, as a literally kicking and screaming Rosman thumps pedal bass drum and sings in a terrifying falsetto (and occasional basso profundo). This opening salvo is one of the most immediately arresting passages in recent composition, and the piece – and Rosman – miraculously maintains this intensity throughout. …
Tim Rutherford-Johnson, Musical Pointers

Two knockout works were those in which Rosman exercised his vocal showmanship: Aaron Cassidy’s I, purples, spat blood, laugh of beautiful lips (2006/7), another premiere, and Richard Barrett’s Interference (2000). Cassidy’s piece, for unaccompanied high male voice, requires the performer to monitor a computer-generated random pitch line through an earphone and sing that line while pronouncing fragments of words derived from texts by Arthur Rimbaud and Christian Bök. Cassidy’s work addresses their translation and, in the absence of conventional verbal meaning, Rosman’s declamatory voice delivers a powerful emotional impact, extending the consideration of verbalisation and sound poetry since Kurt Schwitters and the Dadaists. The randomness of the pitch line ensures the work is never rendered the same way twice. Barrett’s Interference (2000) is based on a text by Lucretius and is set for falsetto voice alternating with contrabass clarinet and accompanied by kick-drum, and Rosman’s theatrical one-man-band effort is electrifying.
Chris Reid, Realtime, August/September 2007

Barrett writes a kind of music in which small elements rapidly gain identities by means of repetition and transformation, so that they start to take on the character of words in some jabbering dialect. In the disc’s most startling piece, interference, the breakthrough occurs before anything else has been heard. This solo for contrabass clarinet starts with the (man) soloist vocalizing in a very high register, a register normally (if that is quite the word: there is not much normality here) associated with keening or sacred ululation. The effect is electric. Something desperate is going on—is being transmitted, indeed, or at least its transmission is being transmitted. So hot is this process that the words, from Lucretius, are burnt. And it says a lot for Barrett’s skills—as also for those of his destined performer, Carl Rosman—that the temperature stays super-high when the instrument takes over.
There is another participant, in addition to the unfamiliar instrument and the defamiliarized voice. From time to time the player whacks a pedal drum, whether to belabour, encourage or merely punctuate the monologue one is not sure. The whole scene, rivetting throughout its twelve minutes, could be compared with one of Beckett’s late ‘dramaticules’—Ohio Impromptu especially.
A piece for more usual clarinet (though the unusual clarinet in C), knospend-gespaltener, comes across, despite its title from Celan (‘budding-fissured’), as the comedy of this series. Again Rosman is the expert player. There are also pieces for metal percussion, trombone, violin and electric guitar, all played by the astonishing musicians of Elision, with whom the composer has had a long relationship.
Paul Griffiths, Words and Music: record of the week (

From time to time one still comes across the idea that modernist music, by its very nature, is ugly and inexpressive, and that the newly tuneful composers of the last couple of decades have saved the art from going down some blind alley. If evidence were needed to conquer that notion, a recent CD of solo works by Brian Ferneyhough (Etcetera KTC 1206), played by the extraordinary musicians of the Australian group ELISION, would do the trick. …perhaps the most sheerly stunning performance here is Carl Rosman’s of Time and Motion Study I for bass clarinet, an earlier piece, from the 1970s rather than the ’80s, going back to a steamier period in Ferneyhough’s music. Rosman suggests something of the sound and atmosphere of a jazz improvisation, and perhaps for Ferneyhough the bass clarinet was a more eloquent, precise and versatile alternative to the baritone saxophone. But those extras are vital. The piece covers the ground from frenetic burblings to intense tones in a register one never thought this instrument could reach, moving to a powerful climax, after which all that is left is dust in the air.
Paul Griffiths, New York Times, 4 April 1999

…the executive difficulties of most of the music, taken in their stride by Pace and Rosman, would have beaten most famous performers on the ordinary concert circuit into insensibility… ended with a forthright and satisfying performance of the Brahms [Op. 120 No. 2] sonata, demonstrating that the best contemporary music specialists can bring new perspectives to music of the past, and may be well able to match their more famous rivals in masterpieces of the classical canon.
Peter Grahame Woolf, Seen and Heard (, October 2002

Schneid bringt hier die Vertikale, also den Klang in einen zeitlichen Verlauf. Aberwitzig schnell gespielte Skalen und Arpeggien sind gedanklich den Soundclustern Coltranes verwandt. Schnelle, repetitive Sprünge zwischen den Registern schaffen eine latente Zweistimmigkeit. Ein Virtuosenstück voller klanglicher Intensität, inspiriert gespielt von Carl Rosman auf der neuen Wergo-CD.
nmz, October 2005

…Vertical Horizon I (1997) pour clarinette solo révèle rapidement sa nature éminemment harmonique, pleinement restituée par Carl Rosman.
Pierre Rigaudière, Diapason, February 2006

Del [Helmut Lachenmann], el clarinetista del grupo, Carl Rosman, a modo de único oficiante de un rito musical que lo expuso durante veinte minutos ante un público ávido de nuevas experiencias estéticas, tocó su Dal niente-Interiéur III (1970), pieza de suma exigencia técnica en su ejecución por el necesario empleo de medios ajenos a los convencionales usos del instrumento, impuestos por la tradición, lo cual obliga a apartar el interés y la atención según los cánones de la escucha habitual.

…Lachenmann opera sobre una « anatomía del sonido », percibiéndose tan sólo los materiales, las energías, y aun las resistencias, que ellos implican para producirlo. En este sentido, el impecable abordaje que de la obra hizo Carl Rosman enfatizó con su gestualidad y su dominio técnico tanto los incisivos sonidos agudos en inimaginables alturas o intensidades como las más imperceptibles pianísimos, y súbitos e inquietantes silencios, creando en el oyente un estado de alerta y permanente expectación.
Héctor Coda, La Nación (Buenos Aires), 9 November 2006

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