Michael Vincent Waller: Trajectories

R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods

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Michael Vincent Waller: Trajectories Review

by Blair Sanderson

While Michael Vincent Waller's first album, The South Shore, introduced chamber works for various combinations of instruments, his 2017 release on Recital is somewhat more unified in its tone colors, consisting of works for piano solo and cello and piano. Trajectories continues Waller's exploration of calm, reflective moods, expressed in placid miniatures that typically employ a narrow range of pitches, the subtle interplay of modes, generally soft dynamics, and nonfunctional yet seemingly tonal harmonies. The apparent simplicity of Waller's music is belied by the sophistication of his techniques, which include a rather free, postminimalist approach to cycling patterns and considerable rhythmic variety, offsetting its Satie-like stasis. Waller's surfaces may seem simple or transparent in the opening piano piece, by itself, and in the Visages, played with delicacy by R. Andrew Lee, yet the ephemeral nature of the music invites a second listening, if only to capture something more of its elusive character. Lines introduces the cello, smoothly played by Seth Parker Woods, and the contrast of its lyrical part with the essentially harmonic piano accompaniment sets up a fragile equilibrium. Breathing Trajectories and Dreaming Cadenza, both for solo piano, offer more chromatic hues in the piano's slowly broken arpeggios, though the widely spaced pitches avoid harsh dissonances. The closing triptych, Laziness, outwardly resembles a conventional piece for cello and piano, though the periodic shifts of major and minor harmonies and the curiously gnomic cello part serve as a reminder that, in Waller's music, familiar sonorities and forms are usually treated unconventionally.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 05:51 Amazon
Visages
2 R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 01:57 Amazon
3 R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 01:43 Amazon
4 R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 04:51 Amazon
5 R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 03:02 Amazon
6 R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 03:11 Amazon
7 R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 02:40 Amazon
8 R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 04:33 Amazon
9 R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 02:33 Amazon
10 R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 09:38 Amazon
Breathing Trajectories
11 R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 08:38 Amazon
12 R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 05:55 Amazon
13 R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 08:32 Amazon
14 R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 04:33 Amazon
Laziness
15
I
R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 03:53 Amazon
16
II
R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 03:13 Amazon
17
III
R. Andrew Lee / Seth Parker Woods 01:54 Amazon
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