In the music of American composer Derek Bermel, familiar oppositions – between classical and vernacular, comic and serious, visceral and cerebral – start to break down. The works on this programme draw on Bermel’s kaleidoscopically varied background, both as a composer and performer. The album's five pieces are as wide-ranging intellectually as musically, their inspirations extending from theatre to gestalt psychology to theoretical physics.
Twice GRAMMY-nominated composer and performer Derek Bermel studied with Henri Dutilleux, Dutch avantgardist Louis Andriessen, and ragtime revivalist William Bolcom. In his music, seemingly antithetical qualities – classical and vernacular, comic and serious – merge and transform each other unpredictably, their inspiration ranging from theatre (Ritornello), to gestalt psychology (Figure and Ground), to meditations on cosmology (A Short History of the Universe). Thracian Sketches explores and reimagines Bulgarian folk music, while the Violin Etudes distill Bermel’s intellectual creativity into its purest form.
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