SEAN SHEPHERD (b.1979): Blur for Ensemble, DAVID FULMER (b.1981): Within His Bending Sickle’s Compass Come for Horn and Ensemble, STEVE REICH (b.1936): WTC 9/11 for String Quartet and Pre-recorded Voices and Strings, MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): Instruments I for 6 Instrumentalists, JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): Music for Wind Instruments for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon, ELLIOTT CARTER (1908-2012): Clarinet Concerto, EDGARD VARÈSE (1883-1965): Intégrales.

Catalogue Number: 04S079

Label: Alpha

Reference: 274

Format: CD

Price: $29.98

Description: This interesting set celebrates nearly a century of uniquely New York-ish avant-garderie. Varèse's essay in urban primitivism is now a classic; Carter's complex, virtuosic concerto of 1996 is well on its way to becoming one. Of the new works, Fulmer's similarly suggests a 'conversation' between solo instrument and ensemble, in and out of which it is integrated and re-emerges. The title, taken from a line of Shakespeare about the inevitability of time's passage, suggests a link with the solo horn's loss of its solo identity as its material 'decays' into the ensemble. Shepherd's title refers to the blurring energy and speed of New York life. The work is hectic, frenetic, with uneasy moments of calm as evanescent as the pauses of teeming humanity at traffic signals. The language here is less modernistic than the older works - make of that what you will - with some tonal harmony and even melody thrown into the mix. Strangely for such important figures, the works by Reich, Cage and Feldman are far from over-recorded. Reich's harrowing 9/11 memorial, taking its pitch and rhythm material from snippets of emergency calls, interviews and psalms to be transcribed into the composer's trademark obsessive minimalism which has never seemed more appropriate to its message. The Cage is early, astonishingly conventional when you consider what he later became. Here he sounds like a thoroughly proficient Schoenberg pupil writing an attractive divertimento for winds. Feldman's piece, characteristically, invites the listener to concentrate on changes in timbre and pitch, in a series of unconnected chords entirely lacking harmonic or melodic 'meaning' and requiring no context or effort of memory. 2 CDs. Jens McManama (horn), Jérôme Comte (clarinet), Ensemble Intercontemporain; Matthias Pintscher.

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