New Focus Recordings FCR 122
Claire Chase, flute
International Contemporary Ensemble
The only drawback to a Claire Chase CD is that you don’t get to watch her play. Fortunately, the performances and production on Terrestre are such that Chase’s visceral energy comes through loud and clear. She is joined on several pieces by her outstanding colleagues in the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).
Terrestre opens with the title track, by Kaija Saariaho. ICE has worked with Saariaho on several occasions, and it’s apparent from this vibrant recording that Chase, violinist Erik Carlson, cellist Kivie Cahn-Lipman, harpist Nuiko Wadden and percussionist Nathan Davis feel a deep connection to her music.
The old chestnuts on this disc are by modernist icons. Chase and pianist Jacob Greenberg romp through Pierre Boulez’s Sonatine and Franco Donatoni’s Fili, while she and clarinetist Joshua Rubin spar elegantly in Elliott Carter’s Esprit Rude, Esprit Doux.
The highlight of the album is Dai Fujikura’s Glacier for solo bass flute: a subterranean, twenty-first century answer to Debussy’s Syrinx. Chase follows it with a graceful reading of Laura Mullen’s poem was-O, closing out her second solo release and building anticipation for her third.