TED COFFEY/Works for Dance: A set of experimental music for experimental dance, there's heavy reliance on computers shifting things around and cribbing from the basics of ancient sounds but letting the bytes have their way. Avant garde all the way, you can take it as space lounge music or a soundtrack from a dance recital on Mars. Bring your left leaning ears if you want to take this for a spin.
SAMUEL LIVIGNSTON/Gentle Winds-Chamber Music of: The four pieces here presented by three different ensembles all came about because the composer and his wife joined a folk dancing group and found the meters of the music not aligned with what they were expecting. And so pen was set to paper. The result, four simply gorgeous pieces, perfectly played with expression and emotion yielding a great listening experience. A lovingly crafted chamber recital, this is totally delightful music to kick back and get comfy with.
PHOENIX ENSEMBLE/Clarinet Quintets: And why shouldn't Brahms and Elliott Carter exist side by side on the same disc? The ensemble, led by clarinetist Mark Lieb, have been plying their trade for a long time and here they find themselves playing challenging music from eras that almost over lapped. Never the kind of stuff that's work to listen to, this is merely dense and well textured work that'll keep your ears on their toes. Smart without being egghead, this is how chamber music fans rock out.
MINJU CHOI/Boundless: Well looky here, a highly skilled Asian piano lady kicking it out solo that didn't get grabbed by Steinway first. Playing modern classical with passion, this repeat award winner shows how it's done here. With a texture that doesn't have to rely on white space for you to take a breather, she keeps it coming in most fine style. Highlighting three composers here, it seems safe to say they probably never sounded so good. A solid must for serious, classical piano fans that are clamoring for some fresh repertoire.
LES DELICES/Songs Without Words: This trio of award winning leaders casts aside their forays into obscure early music to bring the baroque to Willie Nelson, Billy Strayhorn, Charles Aznavour and others that might seem like they've been around long enough to be part of the baroque era but can only lay claim to being influenced by it. Fans needn't worry that this crew has gone gift shop on them. Turning it all out in a sincere and authentic style, they found music that is right for any part of the century to be given their touch. A delightful chamber recital that doesn't require you to know anything about baroque or pop to fully enjoy that wonderful chops on display. Well done.
UAB CHAMBER TRIO/Many New Trails to Blaze: Luxuriating in a program of mostly commissioned pieces, this trio shows that classical music can live and breath in Alabama no matter what smarty pants' might think. Finding their way to present the best of everything, these pieces are well written and well played with attention paid to making it sound old school but without leaving any dust on it. A delightful ear opener, even Yankees would have to admit how high octane these proceedings are. Solid work throughout.
J.A. KAWARSKY/Spoon Hanging From My Nose-The Music of: From getting his doctorate at Northwestern, where they used to have Jew quotas, to conducting opera in Israel, you really can say educator Kawarsky has seen and done it all. With this set taking his musical interests around the horn, this reflects his love of classical, show music, soundtracks and more. There's even stuff here where you could confuse him with John Williams until he left turns it into Aaron Copland. Great stuff sure to be enjoyed by anyone that doesn't take themselves too seriously and wants the rest of the world to follow suit.
ELIZABETH VERCOE/Butterfly Effects: Featuring her compositions in a variety of settings, we find this composer knows how to make egghead music palatable beyond the genre. With her music inspired by the texts of Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton and other high minded types, this is almost like Georgia O'Keefe paintings set to music. Interesting stuff throughout that never goes where you expect it to.
SCOTT PERKINS/Whispers of Heavenly Death-Vocal Works by: The mainstream is certain to find this stuff to heavy, but this award winner knows how to bring it when it comes to art songs. With a crew that knows how to apply liberal doses of strum and drang, he hits his target handily.
DAVID GRAFF/Supposed to Fly: An old school country cat that gave it a good spin before dropping out for an extended period now comes back as a killer freek folkie that takes Americana to it's strangest corners (as opposed to it's darkest ones). You can just hear this being right at home in a dive bar full of hipsters.
(David Graff Music 947)
Number 41/Number 352
October 18, 2018
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record
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