, September 2012
This disc’s title, “Scenes from a New Music Séance”, refers to a short series of daylong concerts presented in San Francisco by Other Minds that juxtaposed works by deceased pioneering new-music icons and their artistic offspring. Not only does this splendid mixed program by the violin/piano duo of Kate Stenberg and Eva-Maria Zimmermann reflect the series’ inclusive spirit, but it also stands as an imaginatively-curated 75-minute recital in its own right. What is more, the duo’s dynamic, intensely expressive, and well-synchronized performances largely make compelling cases for the music they present.
Note the variety of attack and timbre they bring to the suspenseful sustained notes in the first part of Ronald Bruce Smith’s Tombeau. True, the droll and not very jazzy “Jazz” movement in Josef Hauer’s Five Pieces for Violin and Piano gets slightly slower and heavier as it progresses, but the folksong-like “Ballade” from Henry Cowell’s 1945 Sonata is appreciably conversational. Ruth Crawford’s four-movement 1925-26 Violin Sonata sounds fresher than ever with its combination of expressionistic rigor, textural transparency, and skillful deployment of registers between instruments. The duo’s pinpointed accuracy and concentration conveys a stark, sometimes austere impression that differs from the more playful Continuum interpretation on Naxos, yet proves equally convincing.
…Nonette by Amy X Neuberg is a delightful, lighthearted, and harmonically stimulating romp involving multitracked solo violin repeated notes, both arco and pizzicato. The work is complex yet easy to grasp. Excellent sonics and annotations make this stimulating release all the more appealing. © 2012 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review