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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Percussion Music of Gui Sook Lee

Gui Sook Lee, from South Korea, writes compositions for percussion ensemble that combine some of the open ambiance of contemporary classical with an Asian element. She also creates a classic articulation of parts such as we have heard in the pioneering pieces of Varese, Harrison and Cage. Five compositions are featured on her recording, simply titled The Music of Gui Sook Lee (Ravello 7810). The excellent McCormick Percussion Group (Robert McCormick, conductor) forms the principal conduit for realizing these pieces, with the addition of Ji Hyun Kim nicely taking on the piano part of "Stillness" and Kim McCormick gracing "Moving On" with her flute.

Gui Sook Lee tends to write percussion music that pulsates in steady cadences, which allows the rhythmic-melodic potential of the instruments at hand to breathe with life and retain each individual timbre. The resultant music is sonorous, often rich in the woodiness of multiple marimbas, and more expressive than rigorously structured. The sound-color palette of Ms. Lee's arsenal tends to be bright and luminous.

The playing of all involved is excellent as is the sound staging.

Recommended for all who enjoy exploring the new sounds and rhythmic vitality of contemporary percussion music--and for anybody who would like some different music to enjoy and grow into aurally!

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