Concord Chamber Music Society

Chris Brubeck: Danza del Soul; Michael Gandolfi: Line Drawings; Lukas Foss: Central Park Reel

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Here's an attractive trio of contemporary American chamber works, straightforward that make use of tonality in various guises, as well as jazz and other vernacular influences, but explore both novel concepts and rigorous formal devices and could not in any way be called crossover pieces. The casual buyer may wonder about the famous name Brubeck on the program, and indeed Chris Brubeck is the son of jazz pianist Dave Brubeck. His Danza del Soul, for violin, clarinet, piano, cello, bass, and percussion, is only lightly jazz-flavored, however; instead, it is influenced by his father's pieces for classical ensembles and also by the whimsical spirit of Dave Brubeck's own classical influences, chief among them Darius Milhaud. The booklet is helpful in setting the scene, which involves a mock warm-up from the clarinet and mock-annoyed interactions with the other instruments. The finale, entitled "Chickens," of Michael Gandolfi's Line Drawings (for violin, clarinet, and piano) is jazzier than anything in the Brubeck work, but this piece also includes an opening movement in strict canon. The work is stylistically diverse throughout but nevertheless seems to hold together. The joyous finale is Lukas Foss' Central Park Reel, for violin and piano, which sounds something like what Charles Ives would have written if he had lived long enough to hear bluegrass music. The work was commissioned by, of all people, the U.S. Information Agency, and premiered in 1987. The original work specified a tape delay at the end; here a similar result is achieved via overdubbing. It's a sparkling finale to an enjoyable program.

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