Various Artists

Zosha di Castri: Tachitipo

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This is the debut album of music featuring composer Zosha Di Castri, performed by various chamber musicians from the New York area. The pieces are diverse in several respects -- they are electric or acoustic, programmatic or abstract -- but they suggest a composer with a distinctive style. All were composed between 2010 and 2016. The Quartet No. 1 for string quartet was commissioned for the Banff International String Quartet Competition, and it poses considerable challenges for the players, both individually as a group. All of the music has a virtuoso aspect, splendidly realized by the performers here, and the virtuosity is often deployed to create a rather aggressive atmosphere. This may be contrasted with quieter elements, as in Dux for solo piano, where an "often bombastic, unpredictable, powerful, scattered" leader (or "dux") line is sharply opposed to its follower line. Especially evocative is the title track, whose name refers to an 1823 Italian typewriter model. The work is not so much about suggesting a typewriter as "a reflection on writing and the machines we use to execute our ideas." Di Castri notes that many of the early "typewriters" (the term referred to both the machine and the user) were women, and there are other feminist aspects in the music and its production. A sometimes difficult but always direct and appealing debut.

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