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eighth blackbird meanwhile

MAZZOLI Still Life with Avalanche. HUREL …à mesure.
ETEZADY _from Damaged Goods. HARTKE Meanwhile.
GLASS Music in Similar Motion. ADÈS Catch


This is the latest offering from a Chicago-based group which has produced some remarkably innovative CDs, performed and recorded with great flair. The first time we encountered eighth blackbird was in connection with Frederic Rzewski, a composer whose music we have featured over the years live, in a 2006 London festival and in recorded reviews.

Meanwhile brings together composers of several generations, with something for every open-minded listener (mine were closed to the Glass item !).

My enjoyment is caught well by Fanfare and I have pleasure in quoting their review which squares with my own enthusiasm: " - - Stephen Hartke’s six-movement Meanwhile: Incidental Music to Imaginary Puppet Plays (2007) offers the most exotic rhythms and hothouse colors, drawing from Japanese, Javanese, and Vietnamese dance sources. Thomas Adès’s Catch (1991), purported to be a confrontation between the clarinet and piano trio, has the knottiest phrasing. French composer Philippe Hurel’s …à mesure (1996) is a glittering constellation of notes that range from spiky, high velocity maneuvers to static patterns. Still Life with Avalanche (2008), by Missy Mazzoli, is a tug-of-war between brisk, rapid figuration and droning passivity, incorporating several dances, one resembling a tango, another a tarantella. Of the two excerpts from Roshanne Etezady’s Damaged Goods (2000), one is a moody pastoral air, the other an urban industrial stomp - - ". I've put it onto my iPod and it is perfect music to enjoy again walking in the park !

Peter Grahame Woolf