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ClassicsOnline Home » BUNCH, K.: String Circle / Drift / 26.2 / Luminaria / Boiling Point (ALIAS Chamber Ensemble)
A composer to watch to be sure!
Kenji Bunch has emerged as one of the most engaging, influential, and prolific American composers of his generation. Hailed by the New York Times as “A Composer To Watch” and cited by Alex Ross in his seminal book “The Rest Is Noise,” Mr. Bunch’s unique blend of wit, exuberance, lyricism, unpredictable stylistic infusions, and exquisite craftsmanship has brought acclaim from audiences, performers, and critics alike.
This new CD featuring some of Bunch's chamber music is interesting and exciting! Bunch's vocabulary is tonal and inclusive of several styles that become his own unique blend. The composer is a very fine violist and this background shows in the very upbeat and interesting String Cycle featuring his own take on five different takes on some culturally idiomatic string playing, such as you would hear in country fiddle and bluegrass.
The trio Drift for clarinet, viola and piano is quite a different deal. Inspired by the feeling of loss of clarity as one falls asleep, this fascinating and "dreamy" work uses a piece of melody that weaves its way through the instrumental combinations until it gets lost in the softest of harmonics, trills and piano chords. This is a very fine work!
Similarly, 26.2 is based on an interesting premise: that of the distance in a marathon run and inspired by Kenji and his wife having actually participated in the NYC marathon several times. Scored for a very unusual combination of string trio and French horn, the work evokes the feelings and sounds of the various neighborhoods that runners must travel through in the actual NYC marathon. This is a very interesting work with some strong writing for all players.
Luminaria for violin and harp takes its inspiration from both the practice of noon time "restful" music being played at New York's St. Paul Chapel during the post-9/11 cleanup as well as from the "fragile" but beautiful appearance of Mexican luminarias. This is, indeed, a restful and beautiful work and worthy of actual prayer and meditation.
The CD's title work, Boiling Point, is the product of some "experimental" writing for amplified string quartet and drums! Written while Bunch himself was the violist in a new music string quartet, it takes its inspiration from everything from comic book art to the music of Morton Feldman to the sounds of a whistling tea kettle. This bouyant and engaging work sounds like minimalism meets rock meets jazz and is wholly engaging!
This is a terrific CD and a wonderful introduction to the music of Kenji Bunch! The players in the Alias Chamber Ensemble (great name!) play very well and the sound quality is excellent!more....
By George M. Wallace
a fool in the forest
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BUNCH, K.: String Circle / Drift / 26.2 / Luminari...