Moons and Ancestors
music of Robert Shechtman
performed by Paul Austin, Gregory Crowell, Christina Fong, and Ethnoeccentric
Ancestral Songs for horn and organ
Water from the Moon for amplified violin
- Sirens’ Song
- Soft Shoe
- Sirens’ Song II
- Sirens’ Song & One More Waltz
Variations on the Huang Chung of the Eleventh Moon for amplified ensemble
Robert Shechtman’s music is exactly what I wanted to hear exactly when I wanted to hear it. There is a simplicity to the musical materials that is skillfully propelled into emotional arcs and meaty performances. Shechtman’s language is open and inviting, drawing upon pitch centric and motivic gestures with lots of space and time between events. I felt like I could really process what was being said as opposed to just trying to keep up.
The opening calls of the horn in Ancestral Songs are lonely, spacious, and inviting. The droning organ provides the perfect counterweight to the horn as the soloist picks up energy and gradually yanks the organ along with more spritely gestures. Paul Austin and Gregory Crowell evoke the timeless and eternal quality that this music needs.
Christina Fong brings the same needed energy to the five movement Water From the Moon. From the seductive long tones of Sirens’ Song to the One More Waltz, the music feels effortless and engaging. The electronic manipulation of the violin is quite subtle and well placed. The dance movements, Soft Shoe, Jitterbug, and the final Sirens’ Song & One More Waltz are particularly charming and note perfect. If you don’t feel like moving while hearing these movements, you might want to check your pulse.
Variations on the Huang Chung of the Eleventh Moon is a rousing and sparkling work for amplified ensemble. Ethnoeccentric gives a passionate and intense performance. Variations is the most driving and propulsive work on the disk and yet I still feel that sense of space and longing from the earlier pieces. The variations walk a fine line between sectional/character variations and free-flowing fantasia. Either way is fine with me.