LISA BIELAWA (b.1968): Roam, Double Violin Concerto, Synopses #1-15, Unfinish'd, sent, In Medias Res.
Catalogue Number: 09M104
Description: These works by vocalist-composer Bielawa were all written during the past decade, mostly as a result of her collaboration as composer-in-residence with BMOP. The composer is fond of literary allusions and inspirations; and taking her cue from her rôle as performer with various ensembles in different types of music, employs the human voice in striking and unusual ways (she is her own soloist in the Shakespeare-inspired Unfinish'd, sent). The 2001 orchestral essay Roam takes its title from Pushkin in music that is alternately meditative and tumultuously dramatic in an idiom that blends tonality with microtonal inflections, abstract, organic textures with rhythmically insistent suggestions of minimalism. These characteristics are also evident in the more recent (2008 and 2009) 'concerto' works, with a tendency toward a more explicit tonal foundation, though the unusual textures of voice plus extended-technique microtonally scordatura violin in the second movement of the Double Concerto place the listener in a sound-world that is far from conventional. In medias res is linked to the Synopses, solo pieces for members of BMOP with evocative, ambiguous titles; the orchestral work brings the bustling crowd of personalities together in a sometimes rowdy, exuberant celebration of the expressive capabilities of the orchestra. The work is predominantly tonal, and runs the gamut of emotional mood, from lively excitement through a range of more somber,wistful solo episodes. The 15 Synopses cover everything from frank tonal tunefulness to avant garde pointillism and extended techniques, telling entertaining little stories and illustrating the personalities of the soloists for whom they were written. 2 CDs. Carla Kihlstedt (violin, voice), Colin Jacobsen (violin), Lisa Bielawa (soprano), Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Gil Rose.