Meredith Monk: Piano Songs, a new compilation performed by Ursula Oppens and Bruce Brubaker, features music that finds expressive possibilities in the act of moderating between extremes. Old and new, traditional and experimental, memory and transformation–within all those competing forces, Monk’s music seems to hover at a point of balance.
Neuma catalog items 450-108 and 450-201 are, respectively, a CD and a DVD (whose job is mostly to support multichannel audio; only one piece includes a video component) that together represent a 22-year retrospective of the music of Thomas DeLio.
Two pianists who recently caught my attention with new releases devoted exclusively to American music composed within the last quarter century are Nicholas Phillips and Mary Kathleen Ernst. All in all, 17 composers are represented on these discs, showing that the instrument that once was a mainstay in households all across the land still has a home in the 21st century.
The albums featured this week include Glenn Kotche’s Adventureland, Troubadour Blue by Nils Bultmann, and Ryonen by Man Forever with So Percussion. Come have a listen!
Both in terms of Douglas Detrick’s compositions and the performances by his trumpet/sax/cello/bassoon/drums quintet, The Bright and Rushing World is a true hybrid of the aesthetics and sensibilities of jazz and contemporary classical music.
This week features three hot off the press releases by Puppet’s Records, Cantaloupe, and New World Records.
The Belgian/Dutch electric guitar quartet Zwerm presents a fascinating collection of one-page pieces by American composers that rely on everything from more-or-less traditional notation to what one might characterize as “Marvel comic super heroes battle a graphic score.”
These three recordings have been sitting patiently and quietly in the pile on my desk without flash or fanfare, waiting to be listened to. Two of the discs are from just down the road in Washington, D.C., while another comes from San Francisco, and the music they contain couldn’t be more diverse.
The music of Chicago-based Janice Misurell-Mitchell seamlessly weaves elements from high modernism with jazz, Latin, blues, and even funk into an amalgam that is completely its own thing. Vanishing Points, the second retrospective disc of her music, collects six of her chamber music compositions spanning four decades.
It’s always exciting to find a “new” favorite piece of music or music maker, but digging deeper into a known artist’s catalog offers its own myriad rewards. This week we apply that to new releases from Chris Campbell, David T. Little, and Aaron Irwin.