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ClassicsOnline Home » SILVERMAN, T.: Between the Kiss and the Chaos / Axis and Orbits (Silverman, Calder Quartet)
There's nothing like a composer performing his own music. Especially when it's so dependent on the performer's artistry. Electric violinist Tracy Silverman manages to not only bridge the worlds of classical music and rock, but does so in a way that makes the blending sound effortless and natural.
The title track is a concerto for electric violin and string quartet. Silverman makes the most of the contrast between electric and accoustic instruments, as well as blending them together so effectively one can't separate them. Each of the five movements uses a different artist (and a signature work by them) as a starting point for Silverman's explorations.
Personally, I thought the second work on the album, "Axis and Orbits," to be even more interesting. This set of four pieces is written for solo electric violin and loop pedals. I've sat through plenty of live performances where the musician first sets up the loops and then starts into the work. It's not always pleasant. Silverman has too, apparently, and has been careful to incorporate the loop-building process into the composition. So from the moment you hear sound, the music has begun. Silverman accomplishes his goal so artfully that one sometimes isn't aware that it's just one person playing -- and playing live. I can think of more than a few guitarists who could learn from his example.more....
Some unusual and beautiful violin work!
Electric violin as a unique and viable sound source has intrigued me since I first heard Jean-Luc Ponty some forty years ago! My first exposure to the music of Tracy Silverman was when I saw him live in LA performing John Adams' "Dharma at Big Sur" - a great work, by the way!
This is now my first exposure to Silverman as a composer and it is very nice, indeed. The beautiful and atmospheric "Between the Kiss and the Chaos" for electric violin and string quartet began as incidental music to a puppet opera by puppeteer Brian Hull. Each movement takes its theme from a different well known painting; as Silverman comments, sort of his own "Pictures at an Exhibition". The language is very jazz inspired with touches of minimalism and reminded me, in spots, of the music of Jerry Goodman.
This is a very attractive work and I felt that the O'Keeffe "Red Poppy" movement and the closing "Guernica" (after Picasso) were highlights. The other work here is for Silverman, solo, with loop pedals. "Axis and Orbits" begins in a very ethereal fashion with the loops created stack on each other and then gradually pull apart. The third movement, 'Sacred Geometry', is similar to the opening 'Axis and Orbits I'in that two loops serve almost as orbs that circle each other; there is a cricket chirping analogy that Silverman refers to that I got somewhat; the sound is charming and intriguing.
The work concludes with the highly kinetic and rock-inspired 'Moto Perpetuo'. Kudos to Tracy Silverman for providing booklet notes that explain how looping pedals and composing with digital sound 'loops' works. This is a highly entertaining album; especially for fans of Silverman's extremely proficient playing style and electric strings anyway. The Calder Quartet, in "Between the Kiss and the Chaos" is a fine ensemble as well, whose work I have heard in other contexts.
Silverman is a superb artist and I also found it interesting, but not surprising, that parts of "Axis and Orbits" was written at Terry Riley's ranch in northern California... Of course it was!more....
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SILVERMAN, T.: Between the Kiss and the Chaos / Ax...