Richard Chartier

(For Morton Feldman)

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    9
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There are so many reasons to enjoy and recommend this CD, it's difficult to decide where to start. First, you have represented on one disc three of the most important and best composers in the lowercase/microsound style, a turn-of-the-century development of minimalism from the electronica perspective. The roots of the current include a strong Morton Feldman influence and the three pieces by Bernhard Günter, Richard Chartier, and Steve Roden were all realized specifically for this project, a homage on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the composer's death. The three pupils have seen beyond Feldman's ticks and obvious processes (something anyone studious enough can do) to tap into the essence of his music. The way his influence shows up in their work usually takes various forms and is open for debate, but on this album it turns up stronger and more solemn. Günter's "Fuyo no Ame (For Morton Feldman)" ranks among his best pieces. Mournful, slow, and delicate, it creates shattering beauty out of the most simple elements -- a note from a shô (Japanese mouth organ), a drone, water -- and alone justifies the cost of the album. Chartier's "How Things Change" gets quieter and more minimalist, as usual, using silence to build tension. Roden's "Stasis" sounds somewhat less romantic (yes, this word still makes sense in this context) than Günter's, but it remains just as fascinating. So you have three of the best exponents of the style and a chance to really appreciate the impact Morton Feldman's music had on a younger generation. And in the process you get one of the best CDs to introduce you to the quiet world of lowercase music. Highly recommended; just play, listen, and repeat.

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