Michael Vincent Waller: The South Shore

Various Artists

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Michael Vincent Waller: The South Shore Review

by Blair Sanderson

Michael Vincent Waller's The South Shore is a double-CD collection of 31 short chamber works composed between 2012 and 2014. Waller belongs to the generation of postminimalist composers who have absorbed the techniques and procedures of the avant-garde, yet he has moved on to find fresh resources in the use of Greek modes, traditional counterpoint, and the influences of impressionism, gamelan, pandiatonicism, and postmodernism. The diversity of Waller's instrumentation is initially striking, though this is perhaps more noticeable in a collection where the combinations change from track to track, though the variety seems to be ad hoc rather than purposefully eclectic. Even so, there is unity in Waller's dedicated use of modal harmonies and canonic interplay, which lend an antique quality to many of the selections, especially Atmosfera di Tempo and Per La Madre e La Nonna, among several other works written for strings, as well as the organ piece, Organum. Yet the influences of Erik Satie, minimalism, sacred chants, and popular music can be detected in other works, and all share a tendency toward quiet, lyrical expressions and subdued meditation. Waller's unhurried and gentle music is well-suited to introspection, and the smoothness of the performances and the evenness of dynamics set a consistently reflective mood.

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