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ClassicsOnline Home » VIOLETTE, A.: Pistis Sophias / Flute Sonata / Trio for Horn, Bass Trombone and Piano / 5 Sonatinas / American Song Set (Farnum, Ensemble Pi)
An American Voice
This is a strong and rich survey of the works of contemporary composer Andrew Violette. He writes in a tonal idiom, which leaves opportunities for dissonance as well as the satisfactions of consonance, and his music is colored by his knowledge of an interest in more popular song styles, including a touch of the blues here and there.
The balance between chamber music and vocal music shows off Violette’s virtues. He’s a kind of Neo-Romantic, though different than John Adams, much more directly in the line of Brahms and Charles Ives. The excellent songs especially belong to the expressive and personal style that Ives created, a willingness to do unexpected things and saying something opinionated about the texts. The chamber music is quite fine, with an attractive and forceful understatement, energetic interplay and idiomatic writing; the “Flute Sonata” is especially good, and well played by Maggie Lauer. An ideal introduction to Violette, and an ideal supplement to anyone already interested in his music.more....
Must hear music from an import new composer
Andrew Violette is not a new composer, really. He has been an interesting figure in the NYC music scene for awhile. What makes his music vital is his attention to melody, colored by consonant but fascinating harmonies and in creating works that are a pleasure to listen to.
This terrific two CD set offers a fine introduction to his music and is well worth exploring for anyone not familiar. His instrumental works are engaging, fascinating and dramatic. For example, his Flute Sonata and the Five Sonatinas are very fine works that will remind some of a little Hindemith, a little Piston, touches of Sessions but seem wholly unique as well. In fact, Violette proves the engaging aspects of his music with the Flute Sonata as well in his Clarinet Sonata, heard in a subsequent Navona release (on which is the massive Cello Sonata).
Larger chamber music is another strong suit of the composer's. The jazzy and eccentric Trio for horn, bass trombone and piano and the equally stunning Six Performances for mixed ensemble (including synthesizer) are fascinating and are, nearly, unlike anything you have ever heard. Violette is a pianist by trade who has also had some experience in jazz and rock so it is not surprising that - in addition to the Five Sonatinas - Amor Dammi Quel Fazzolettino, Fantasy and the brief Fugamericana are really nice works that have a lot of appeal and also technical requirements.
"Amor..." in particular, for four hands, is challenging but attractive. I found Violette's vocal music in this set to be especially compelling. The American Song Set for baritone and soprano and piano (voices used separately) is an extensive (forty minutes) song cycle based on some very well known American poetry and makes for wonderful listening. Violette matches the tone of text to the feel of melody quite well. This is equally true in the much more atmospheric Two Spanish Arias and in the familiar Death Be not Proud.
This is a very entertaining set and, clearly, Andrew Violette is a very interesting composer whose music exists in its own sphere, calling upon styles from all genres and trends to become something that is simultaneously hard to categorize and uniquely his own. Highly recommended!more....
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VIOLETTE, A.: Pistis Sophias / Flute Sonata / Trio...