KAMYAR MOHAJER/Pictures of the Hidden: This rising young master of contemporary Persian classical music brings an almost Russian feel of melancholy to his works. Highlighting a different configuration on each of the works here, they bring out the depth of the work and show Mohajer to be a modern composer with an old world feel. Very much a classy, Sunday afternoon kind of set, the subtle differences between this and what you are probably used to add up to a mind blowing experience that really grabs hold. It's like sitting in on a master class you really wanted to show up for.
HAHN LOEWEN GIECK/I Close My Eyes in Order to See: A busman's holiday set for the lead flute player of the Calgary symphony, this set finds two flutes facing off against one piano in a set that includes specially commissioned works that lead contemporary classical into the realm of healing music. A far cry from hippy dippy noodling that fills so much healing music recordings, these three classical aces and the composers picked by Hahn show us how much contemporary classical is evolving. Hey, it even has room for tattoos these days. Often fanciful enough to sound like underscores for Disney family movies, although this is a tribute to Hahn's mother beating breast cancer, it shows the importance of always looking on the bright side of life. Well done.
MARTA BRANKOVICH/Black Swan of Piano: Moldy figs beware. This Serbian Goth gal who poses with blood on her hands and blood on the keyboard attacks the keys with such ferocity, that's probably what the blood is all about. Playing with the intensity of a one woman wrecking crew, the notes and ideas fly thick and fast once she drops the hammer on the keys. Fearlessly pulling repertoire from all quadrants, including original, this is fast music for fast times. A total wild ride throughout.
PEDROIA STRING QUARTET/Quadrants V. 2: The series take a look at another modern string quartet giving them room to flourish and grow. Not really pots and pans music, they are very much in the leading/bleeding edge camp as they let fly with unusual time signatures and counterpoints. Tearing it up on all things modern, even classical fandom has a malcontent faction that needs to be served.
ED MARTIN/Journeys: You think all they've got going in Oshkosh is the air museum and the Oshkosh B'Gosh outlet store? How about a live wire in the nu music world that knows how to find the right piano interpreter for his progressive works? This solo piano set highlighting several of his recent works well satiates the art crowd that wants it deep. Solid stuff if your ears are tuned in this direction, it's clear that this educator doesn't let university rules cramp his style.
DENNIS KAM/Several Times: Alternating between string quartets and solo piano, we find there's as much math and science to Kam's compositions as there is music. Taking time and space into consideration, without much use for white space, Kam fills the air and your ears with a cascade of sounds where the pieces are just as important individually as the whole in it's entirety. A feast for progressive ears, this modern classical cat is far enough along in life that he can look back with pride on his strict disadherence to convention.
Number 41/Number 296
August 23, 2018
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record
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