KEVIN VOLANS (b.1949): Piano Trio, DEIRDRE GRIBBIN (b.1967): How to Make the Water Sound, ED BENNETT (b.1975): for Marcel Dzama, DONNACHA DENNEHY (b.1970): Bulb.

Catalogue Number: 03J114

Label: NMC

Reference: D147

Format: CD

Price: $19.98

Description: Dennehy's Bulb is a lively piece of post-minimal patterning, based on repeating structures and thoroughly engaging. It gains an edge, though, from the composer's use of harmony, which steps outside the comfortable mildly dissonant tonality of much minimal music through the incorporation of microtones in the string parts. Bennett's work incorporates "an alien layer within the texture" in the form of a sampler, which produces deliberately electronic-sounding noises triggered by, but musically unrelated to the somewhat process-driven (though less explicitly than Dennehy's piece) material played by the trio. The electronic sounds gradually overwhelm the trio. Gribbin uses subtle harmonics and droplike fragmentary sounds to evoke still waters, which gradually evolve into flowing textures, rippling and bubbling, never repeating. Volans' trio presents an allegory of the late work of the painter Philip Guston, who turned from abstract expressionism to figurative painting in his later years. Volans' work contrasts lyrical material with mechanical, process-based sections; in the first movement the 'figurative' sections come to dominate the music; in the second, the players are required to put aside any such lyricism in relentless machine-like music, repeating and twitching compulsively with increasing rhythmic dislocations, until it is finally replaced by a tiny coda suggesting a possible new beginning. Fidelio Trio.


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