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V.A.: Perceptions

img  Tobias Fischer

There are strikingly simple reasons for the chambermusic renaissance of the past few years: The humbler the instrumentation, the easier it is to stage and finance, after all – a considerable benefit in times of tightening budgets. And yet, as the multifarious music and colorful line-up assembled on Perceptions proves, there is more to the phenomenon than just practical considerations.

After the grandiose Weltanschauungsmusik of the romantic era and the aesthetics of refusal of the latter 20th century, the realm of the personal marks the obvious next frontier. And so, on this carefully compiled compilation, the search for radical techniques, novel sounds and complex programs has been called off in favour of sharing objects of beauty, craftsmanship and whit. In his first string quartet, Kyle Peter Rotolo melds powerful riffs, fey sensuousness and rhythmical abstractions into a mesmerising weave of four closely related movements with a strong sense of propulsion and transport. Jason Barabbas "Rhetorical Devices" playfully transposes different modes of verbal expressions to a piano-violin-duo-setting, from 140-note tweets to a lively discourse and animated bickering. While Kevin McCarter almost entirely freezes harmony in his floating fantasy "Above the Clouds", Thomas L Read's "Capricci" speeds it up, as a melodic motive runs through a range of emotional permutations.

Each of these pieces is not just a character study, but also delineates a personal language and vocabulary, with the intimacy of the chambermusical settings allowing artists to reveal and express themselves far more clearly than with the overblown orchestral apparatuses of symphonic work. The ambitious and amiable, uncompromising and accessible for once seem aligned. This is music, which wants to be heard, not discussed.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Navona Records