Roderik de Man's music combines the plasticity of academic electroacoustics with the frustrating complexity of contemporary classical music. Most of the works on Electrified Music are mixed -- that is, for musician and tape. They reveal a composer possessing a sharp ear for contrasts, a solid sense of sound movement, a taste for fractured melodies strongly reminiscent of Stravinsky's, and a certain mannerism -- which can be a strength or a weakness, depending on the work. It certainly is a strength in "Entanglements," a piece for recorders and tape. Jorge Isaac delivers a breathtaking performance: the score consists of three recorder parts, all very difficult. Yet Isaac manages to put a lot of feeling in his playing, verging on exacerbation. "Sin Descanso," also composed for Isaac, provides another highlight. "Chordis Canam," for harpsichord and tape, is one of two pieces featuring harpsichordist Annelie de Man. The work is considerably more playful than the other pieces on the disc, something achieved without sacrificing on density. It constitutes an excellent example of a mixed electroacoustic work where all sounds used in the tape part have been derived from the instrument it "duets" with. But the standout piece is definitely "Czar Peter's Creation," for tenor (Marcel Beekman) and tape. Based on a few strophes from a poem by Alexander Pushkin (an ode to St. Petersburg), the piece irradiates with a stark grandeur dominated by Beekman's soaring voice. De Man's music is not widely circulated, even within electroacoustic circles, so this CD offers a suitable (and satisfying) introduction to his work.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture