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New Record Round up

July 17, 2009

I have a bunch of records that I’ve been meaning to review but just haven’t… here’s a short snippet on each:

Ignis Fatuss: Piano Music of Aldophus Hailstork (Albany) is a generally contemplative album full of piano music that almost feels like you can hold.  My favorite moments of the album are the Scherzos at the beginning, which are really heavy (but not plodding) for scherzos.  I also liked the Piano Sonata #2 a good deal.  Pianists on the album: Andrey Kasparov, Oksana Lutsyshyn

John Cage Peforms Empty Words and One7 (Mode)  I really liked this recording.  That said, its not exactly easy listening or even engaging.  You need to do a lot of the work as the listener to appreciate this album.  Empty Words is an interesting exploration of the boundary where words/language and music meet.  One7 has gaps of silence for over a minute at parts.  This felt more like a historical recording to understand Cage’s mindset than a record you’d buy for listening on your ipod.  The pianist Yvar Mikhashoff is also on the record.

Mist: Chamber Music by Janet Maguire (Albany)  is a really dense album of challenging music for both the listener and artists.  My favorite on the track is Frills for solo piano.  The two works involving spoken text didn’t hit the right emotional chord for me.  On the album: Liu Fang, Noriko Kawai, Giovanni Mancuso, Ex Novo Ensemble, Alessia Toffanin, Venice Cello Ensemble, Paul Klee String Quartet, Guido Facchin, Cinzia Honorat, Annunziata Dellisanti.

Viola Spaces by Garth Knox is a really fascinating record.  Part studies in the viola and part concert music, Knox pushes the envelope in the possibilities of his instrument and creates some really interesting music.  The later tracks on the album are also fun, especially Jonah and the Whale.  What really grabs me about this album is that its fun to listen to regardless of the interesting techniques used.  Its simply good music that a non-expert could enjoy.  Also on the album: Johannes Eva, Julien Heichelbech, Marie Petit, Cyprien Busolini, Aurelien Grais, Carol Robinson, Nathalie CHabot, Agnes Vesterman, and Gerard Buquet.

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