Ben Goldberg’s Notes From a Pandemic 

Source: San Francisco Classical Voice.

A prolific composer and recording artist in the best of times, Berkeley clarinetist Ben Goldberg has found a potent muse in pandemic-induced seclusion. He’s been composing, recording, and posting a new tune almost every day on Bandcamp since March 19, creating a quietly enthralling body of music that he calls Plague Diary. As that title suggests, delving into his sequestered creations can feel like an intimate encounter with a contemplative soul seeking succor and a moment or two of beauty.

Sheltered in place with his longtime partner Molly Barker, the graphic artist whose paintings and illustrations have graced nearly two dozen Goldberg albums spanning three decades, he’s been rigorously disciplined. Rarely missing a day, he’s posted more than 60 tracks as of May 23, gradually expanding his sonic palette from his primary horn, Bb clarinet, and a lightly employed effects pedal to include keyboards, loops, and lower-register clarinets. Until two weeks ago he was also teaching a course on improvisation at UC Berkeley (online, like all Cal classes after the statewide shelter in place order), and stayed on task “by creating a deadline for myself every day,” he says.