Taller Sonoro

César Camarero: 34 Maneras de Mirar un Vaso de Agua

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Spanish composer César Camarero (hey, for those who don't like his music, at least he'll fetch a glass of Rioja) here offers chamber pieces that develop slowly from opening configurations of texture and vertical sonority, reaching clearly defined climaxes. He is the rare example of a composer who takes no recourse in tonality but is nevertheless generally accessible, at least in shorter pieces. Sample the title piece, 34 Vasos de Mirar un Vaso de Agua (34 Ways of Looking at a Glass of Water), for saxophone, percussion, and piano, which apparently refers to a 1941 work by Hanns Eisler, 14 Ways of Describing the Rain, and not to the Wallace Stevens poem "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." This and other works on the album have a minimal, cubist quality mixed with an ineffable expressiveness, and they may remind the listener of Federico Mompou. The saxophone, piano, and percussion all inhabit the same general range and gradually become more individuated at the beginning of the work. The slightest deviation from precision ensemble work is fatal in music like this, and the seven players of Taller Sonoro keep a high level of tension throughout. The hardbound booklet offers a good way into the music and causes one to ask yet again how it is that in economically hard-pressed Spain there is money for so many really well-produced albums of classical music. More power to them! Recommended for listeners interested in contemporary chamber music played on acoustic instruments.

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