When I listen to Oscar Bettison's music I am always fascinated by the variety of new sounds he is able to create by using traditional instruments (and some non-traditional ones!) in new and innovative ways. This Ear Tease is going to focus on Bettison's Gauze Vespers. Composed in 2007, it is scored for 5 players - clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, cello - all of whom double on some unusual instruments, in this case Flexatone, toy pianos, melodica, and pitched metal pipes. From his website: "I have a penchant (some would call it an obsession) with junk percussion and more generally with what could be called cinderella instruments (i.e. instruments that really shouldn't be the belle-of-the-ball but I make them so.)."
Though none of these unusual belles stands out above the others in Gauze Vespers, their use together and in conjunction with other more traditional instruments creates a fascinating, and for me unique and totally engaging, sound world.