Larry Polansky

Larry Polansky: Simple Harmonic Motion

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This CD presents four exquisite works for instruments in just intonation. Another You (1981), for solo harp in just intonation, is a set of 17 variations on a jazz standard that appears only briefly within the piece. The music, excellently realized by Alyssa Hess Reit, is delicate, spare, and filled with quiet emotion. The harp is played as if it were a large folk harp, thus, no pedals are used. Movement for Andréa Smith (My Funny Valentine for just string quartet) (1978), played by two violins and two violas using only the airy texture of natural harmonics, again varies a jazz standard. The opening chord from Carl Ruggles' Angels is also mixed in. The composer refers to these two ingredients as "found musical sources." The effect is very touching and often mysterious. The Movement for Lou Harrison (for just bass quartet) (1975-1976) is played throughout on natural harmonics. "The idea of using natural harmonics on just tuned strings to create a complex intonational fabric was first suggested to me by the fifth movement of James Tenney's Quintext." The sustained music floats in a mysterious cloud of high tones, played with skill and taste by Robert Black. Horn for horn and compute (1989) modulates between three harmonic series, the computer calculating in real-time which pitch from the "old" series will leave and which pitch from the "new" series will replace it. The horn part is largely improvisational, drawing pitches from the given series. The effect is angelic, with sustained tones and fleeting, shimmering pure tones flying off of those. Hornist Krystyna Bobrowski's performance is perfectly timed and sensitive.

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