On the Verge
Chamber Music by Sebastian Currier
Music From Copland House
With last year’s magnificent New World release Quartetset and this equally outstanding recording of four fairly recent chamber pieces (including the Grawemeyer-awarding winning Static), Sebastian Currier has elbowed himself into the honorary “little music” seat at the big table where the Glasses, Adamses, and Reichs go to chew the fat. So he’s a minaturist, but would Vermeer have been Vermeer on a Frank Stella-sized canvas?
Currier is something of a music jokester, with performance directions like “almost too fast,” “almost too much,” “almost too little” and “bipolar” but it is his uncanny ability to re-imagine music you think you’ve heard before that most frequently draws a smile and a sense of good companionship. Nobody since Stravinsky has done it better.
There is more than hint of powered wigs and petticoats in Lowell Libermann’s gracious, stately chamber music for ladies and gentlemen of quality. No 20th century angst here. Dvořák sounds like a wild man by comparison. The flute, cello and piano pieces are pleasant enough and expertly played by the Trio Fedele but I couldn’t help imagining a live performance where Borat would wander in with a plastic bag filled with poop and ask the cello player what to do with it.
Chamber Musics III, IV, V
Virtuosi de Khlmo
Another music jokester but more in the William Bolcom tradition, relentlessly tonal and melodic, drawing mirth and drama out of genre references to tango and jazz. Easy listening? Sure. Nobody writing “classical” music today writes better hooks. That’s not necessarily a criticism in my book.