Richard Barrett: Transmissionby Elision Ensemble
This 2006 NMC album of Richard Barrett's intricate music -- designed for players who are well-versed in the extended techniques of their instruments and this "maximalist" composer's extraordinary demands -- may appeal to intrepid listeners intellectually, yet it may also annoy them for its abrasive and disjointed qualities. For example, there is little to love in the harsh vocalizations, contorted bass clarinet lines, and thudding bass drum strokes of "Interference" (1996-2000), even though one may appreciate the complexity and physicality of this work for a soloist acting like a one-man band. Carl Rosman's virtuosic reading is impressive in its relentless energy, if off-putting in its rough sonorities. Peter Neville's performance of the percussion piece "Abglanzbeladen/auseinandergeschrieben" (1992-1996) -- translated as laden with reflections/written asunder -- is easier to take, since the opening section for vibraphone is mellow and almost magical in effect, and the succeeding passages for such percussion instruments as crotales, steel drum, and flexatone seem to be an extension of the first part's bell-like music. The yawping trombone solo, "Basalt" (1990-1991), brings us back to the bracing techniques and tensions of "Interference"; its companions, the gritty "Air for violin" (1993) and the twittering "Knospend-gespaltener for clarinet in C" (in English, budding-fissured) continue Barrett's exploratory efforts in their knotty growls and multiphonic squeaks. These pieces have a confrontational edge, and whatever differences there are in tone colors and methods of attack, the performers do indeed attack, and the music is dense, sharp, and difficult to absorb in a single sitting. Yet some of the charm of the second piece is found in "Transmission" (1996-1999), where the pairing of Daryl Buckley's electric guitar and Barrett's live electronics is quite attractive, and their repartee seems more or less like a futuristic free jazz jam. Because this CD is a mixed bag, listeners are advised to sample a few tracks first before snapping up this highly challenging collection. NMC's sound is fine in the tracks with acoustic instruments, but the volume is red hot in the final piece.
- Release Date:
- Nmc Records
Performance CreditsElision Ensemble Primary Artist
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