Cold Water Dry Stone: New Music with Traditional Roots

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Cold Water Dry Stone: New Music with Traditional Roots Review

by Blair Sanderson

Folk songs and their emotional overtones are important sources of inspiration to Evan Chambers. Indeed, they provide the raw stuff of his work and are always prominently featured, no matter how they are adapted or developed. Chambers treats them not as artifacts or curiosities but as integrated parts of his experience, personalized through his open empathy for many cultures. The finished results are heartfelt and compelling. In the sextet Cold Water, Dry Stone, fragments of Albanian folk melody are refracted in several directions in imitation of the exuberant, resonant singing Chambers heard while visiting that country. The Tannahill Songs (3) for voice and piano quietly convey the tender sentiments Chambers found in the lyrics of Scottish poet Robert Tannahill. Crossroads Songs for saxophone, piano, and percussion is both expressive and spry in its seamless blending of wide-ranging ethnic themes. The Fire Hose Reel, the disc's show-stopper, displays fantastic Irish fiddling over an equally dynamic piano accompaniment. Come Down Heavy! counterbalances Cold Water, Dry Stone both in duration and scope, yet is more abstract in the organization of material around its undisguised melodies. Performed by Quorum and soprano Jennifer Goltz, this polished presentation was recorded to meet the composer's specifications.

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