Barb Wagner

Symbiolo

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

The piano-bass duo offers so many possibilities for creative expression, and this recording takes full advantage of them. Pianist Barb Wagner performs with a studied, disciplined approach, which every now and then erupts with great passion. Her partner, Daniel Studer, is a brilliant acoustic bassist, who falls into that small group of colleagues who combine a modern classical music aesthetic with free improvisatory technique. The results fascinate: scratches, rapid-fire excursions, plunges into new territories, and stunning collages of sound. There are occasional lapses, but the 11 pieces each explore different aspects of musical relationships in a way that should satisfy most adventurous listeners. There is less emphasis on technique than on the overall effect, which is as it should be. Wagner appears a bit subservient to Studer at times, perhaps not completely surprising considering his enormous talents. The pianist, though, shows considerable promise, and her eclectic approach shows the seeds of consistent originality.

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