Albums

Sounds Heard: John Luther Adams—songbirdsongs

There’s a tension between the natural world songbirdsongs is meant to evoke and the artificial means of the evocation that gives the music an interesting texture. Lovely things happen in every movement of the piece, but in a way that is meant to feel accidental and found, rather than designed and anticipated.

Sounds Heard: Sergio Cervetti—Nazca and Other Works

I’ve long been a fan of Sergio Cervetti’s Guitar Music: The Bottom of the Iceberg but having only heard any of his music on compilations led to aesthetic experiences which were ultimately unfulfilling. Each of his compositions created such an evocative sonic universe, so I found it extremely frustrating every time I was jolted into another reality when someone else’s music appeared on a subsequent track. Therefore I was delighted when earlier this year Nazca and Other Works, an entire disc devoted to Cervetti’s music, was released on CD by Navona Records.

Sounds Heard: Due East—drawn only once

Both of John Supko’s pieces, showcased here with optional video accompaniment, ride a disquiet of rapid motion that contrasts with a simultaneously delivered deeper meditative and exploratory spirit.

Sounds Heard: Volti—House of Voices

The mission of the 25-member a capella ensemble Volti is to think outside the box of choral music, and to continue expanding that landscape by commissioning new works and championing the music of living, breathing composers. In its latest CD House of Voices, Volti brings its exceptional musicality to the table once again.

Sounds Heard: Jherek Bischoff—Composed

Taken as an album-length work, the collection of unique voices Composed encompasses as part of its scheme is impressive; that it all comes together so seamlessly is a credit to the strength of Bischoff’s singular one.

Sounds Heard: Rebecca Brandt—Numbers & Shapes

Brandt’s music quickly moves past the New Age sound world as she piles on more and more layers of counterpoint, creating music that instead winds up sounding more akin to one of Phil Spector’s self-described “little symphonies for the kiddies,” albeit without the saccharine lyrics.

Sounds Heard: Meehan/Perkins Duo—Travel Diary

If I’m completely candid, the two large dinosaurs dominating the cover were what first attracted my attention to Travel Diary, a CD of works for percussion duo composed by Tristan Perich, Nathan Davis, David Lang, and Paul Lansky. Was there any way this album could end without someone being eaten alive?

Sounds Heard: Narong Prangcharoen—Mantras

While there have been many composers who have explored combining Western musical forms and orchestrations with elements from the art music of China, Japan, Iran, India, and Indonesia, very few have attempted a similar rapprochement with the music of Thailand. But the music of a Thailand-born composer now based in Kansas City, Narong Prangcharoen, has perhaps been the most effective thus far in seamlessly weaving Thai and Western classical idioms.

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