Liza Lim

Liza Lim: The Heart's Ear

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Born of Chinese heritage, composer Liza Lim has spent most of her time in Australia amid her travels and educational endeavors. The music presented here signifies works she composed from 1989 through 1999. However, the track sequence is not mixed in chronological order, but more from a corroborating musical perspective. In any event, Lim heralds in an avant-garde contemporary classical type program, featuring members of the Ensemble für Neue Musik consortium. Lim integrates indigenous percussion instruments and small ensemble strings, horns, vocals, vibes, and pianos into a set that counters traditional musical approaches. On this release, the musicians mince microtonal passages with contrapuntal dialogues and Sylvia Nopper's animated librettos. At times, the music seemingly mimics raw, free-form jazz, but the multidirectional movements often consist of odd harmonic forays and countermelodies. On "Ingus," clarinetist Hansruedi Bissegger and cellist Samuel Brunner engage in a duet in which hallowed tones take precedence over some of the interplay. A good portion of the composer's work is fabricated upon intertwining mini-themes and ascending lines amid an altogether sinuous flow. Simply stated, the artists' contrasting inventions generally slam the lid on any preconceived expectations. A radiant glow permeates this outing, besides some of the dissonance and austerely conveyed works that -- according to the liners -- are derived from Lim's Asian roots. That notion might become more evident upon repeated listens.

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