JUDITH LANG ZAIMONT (b.1945): String Quartet "The Figure", Piano Trio No. 2 "Zones", Astral for Solo Viola, Serenade for Piano Trio.
Catalogue Number: 05M079
Label: Navona Records
Description: In these chamber works the composer seeks above all that very intimate form of ensemble music-making that results from a tightly-knit ensemble of equals, each with a distinct identity and separate part to play. Thus the quartet, deriving its imagery from the idea of visual figuration illuminated in different ways, is a busily discursive collaboration between partners, at times passionate, mysterious or easy-going and emotionally open. Aside from some pungent discords, especially in the first movement, the piece is strongly tonal, foot-stamping as a percussive special effect in one short passage being the only 'extended' device employed. The trio is based on the idea of the different character of weather patterns in the natural world, with a richly eloquent vocabulary owing something to Shostakovich, as well as a warmer, impressionistic vein, with lively Latin rhythms propelling the movements from 'warmer' climes. All three instruments function as soloists within the ensemble, as in the quartet. Astral is one long phrase, in 11 segments, with a strong tonal pull, requiring considerable virtuosity (and at the end, vocalization) from the soloist. The little Serenade is a lyrical, tonal encore. The CD comes with scant annotation, but notes, two of the scores and some other materials are on the disc in 'interactive' form; how well the interactive part works depends on the type and age of your computer. Harlem Quartet, Awadagin Pratt (piano).