Gavin Bryars

Amjad

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Choreographer Edouard Locke presented Gavin Bryars with the challenge of creating a new ballet incorporating selections from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, but arranged for a chamber ensemble and filtered through a contemporary artistic sensibility. Bryars responded with a series of movements that are recognizably derived from Tchaikovsky's familiar scores but are clearly newly imagined. Scored for the dark-hued ensemble of two violas, cello, and piano, each of the movements retains one or more elements of the original -- the melodic shape, or rhythm, or harmonic progression, or emotional tone -- but refracted through a distorting lens that creates a mixed sensation of familiarity and strangeness. Bryars is largely successful; the result is a somewhat odd mixture of conventional nineteenth Romanticism and postmodern eclecticism, but it works as a large-scale piece of music to accompany a dance. For the staged performances, Locke also interspersed Bryars' movements with short pieces by David Lang, most of which are not discernibly derived from Tchaikovsky, which are recorded here, as well as a series of soundscapes by Blake Hargreaves, which are not. Violists Jennifer Thiessen and Jill van Gee, cellist Elisabeth Giroux, and pianist Njo Kong Kie perform with panache and vitality. The sound is clear, well-balanced, and nicely ambient

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Amjad (after Tchaikovsky), for ensemble
1 4:30
2 7:26
3 3:37
4 5:21
5 4:52
6 4:17
7 4:12
8 3:35
9 4:06
10 4:20
11 3:24
12 4:23
13 3:22
14 5:37
15 6:43
16 4:42
17 5:18
blue highlight denotes track pick