JENNIFER HIGDON (b.1962): Dance Card, CLARICE ASSAD (b.1978): Sin Fronteras, JESSIE MONTGOMERY (b.1981): Coincident Dances, REENA ISMAIL (b.1983): Charukeshi Bandish, #metoo, FLORENCE PRICE (1887-1953): Dances in the Canebreaks (arr. William Grant Still [1895-1978]).

Catalogue Number: 04U060

Label: Cedille

Reference: CDR 90000 185

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: The Chicago Sinfonietta specialises in putting on lively, stimulating programs like this, celebrating all kinds of diversity in new and rediscovered music, as here. All these pieces are tonal, immensely approachable, and happen to have been written by women, but that's pretty much where the similarities end. Four of the works were commissioned by the ensemble, two of them with accompanying choreography, which influenced their structure and character. Esmail's #metoo is a substantial single movement that pays tribute to the #MeToo movement and draws on the composer's personal experiences. Beginning as a swirling whirlwind of propulsive post-minimalist energy, it gradually develops into a defiant, sometimes combative neo-romantic tone poem based on an Hindustani melody at first accompanied by somewhat Sibelian harmony, but gradually gaining strength in its own right, to end the piece triumphantly. The composer sings the melody, with orchestral accompaniment but in traditional style, as a separate work to introduce #metoo. Both Assad and Montgomery celebrate multiculturalism, of the Americas in general and New York City in particular, in their extrovert, energetic works. Brazilian-American Assad's "Without Borders" draws on styles from all over South and Central America, amalgamating them into a lively, swinging, syncopated idiom. After a 'serious' introduction - one imagines the various cultures eyeing each other warily - the piece tours various characteristic rhythms and timbres of the Latin continent. Montgomery presents a similarly optimistic traversal of the diversity of New York, with its bustling, frenetic energy. Higdon's Dance Card is a five-movement suite, full of wit and extrovert humor, with three rhythmically insistent energetic movements that owe something to neoclassical Stravinsky, and two luscious, relaxed pieces, all in the composer's trademark piquant tonal harmony. Price's delightful pieces (originally for piano) draw on the rhythms and melodic styles of African-American and Afro-Caribbean music, and popular dances of the first half of the 20th century. Chicago Sinfonietta; Mei-Ann Chen.


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