Chicago Pro Musica / Jenny Lin / Rufus Müller / Olga Vinokur

Victoria Bond: Instruments of Revelaton; Frescoes and Ash; Leopold Bloom's Homecoming; Binary

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American composer Victoria Bond's first conducting gig involved leading the Senior Citizens Orchestra of Los Angeles as a young woman, and her own productivity as a composer seems to have increased at an age when most composers are slowing down. All the works here date from 2005 or later (Bond was born in 1945), and most of them are vivid representational works. Bond is best known as an opera composer, and the first three works here have an intensely scenic quality. You might not guess the subject matter of Instruments of Revelation, which was written as ballet music, but once you know (it is, charmingly, a trio of characters from the tarot deck: the Magician, the High Priestess, and the Fool), you'll find the music quite evocative. Sample the Fool movement. Frescoes and Ash, commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, depicts seven scenes from the ruins at Pompeii and has a wonderful nostalgic quality. Bond's universe is tonal, but her razor-sharp textures in these chamber pieces mark her as contemporary. The final two pieces, Leopold Bloom's Homecoming (from an episode in Joyce's Ulysses) and the mathematically inclined Binary are murkier, but on this album are two chamber works that are ideal for presentation by collegiate chamber groups. The Chicago Pro Musica, a collection of Chicago and New York orchestral players, clearly approached the project with enthusiasm and commitment.

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