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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Juan Sebastian Lach Lau, Islas

Composer Juan Sebastian Lach Lau hails from Mexico, but he tends more toward an international modernism than a local nationalism. Either way he shows us some excellent examples of his music on the recent CD Islas (Navona 5894).

The program varies in its requirements from solo percussion to larger chamber ensembles. He writes some excellent music for Salvatore Novello and an array of percussion instruments on "rzw + Continuidad Paralela," which is in the lineage of virtuoso, many stranded percussion sounds made part of our landscape by Cage, Varese and Stockhausen, but it has its own punctalism and landscaping. The percussion and computer trio "Pantaleon: the Electronic Hammer" has a many-colored pointillistic tapestry of sound in a somewhat "funkier" zone, with excellent efforts by Maestros Espinosa, Parra and Vega.

"'round Ruby" for chamber ensemble is an exploded pointilized recomposition of Thelonius Monk's "Ruby My Dear," and what a nice way to do it!! Quite attractive and interesting music.

Those are some highlights. One more larger chamber piece, a trio for bass clarinet, flute and piano, and a duet for clarinet and piano flesh out the program. They are also fine examples of Lach Lau's vigorus, creative brand of modern music. The Moravian Philharmonic Chamber Players under Jan Kucera or Vit Micka, Ensamble (sic or not sic) 3, Daniel Pastene on clarinet and Gabi Sultana on piano all put in excellent performances that do justice to the complex strains.

This is a composer who needs to be heard. Thank you to Navona for putting Islas out. It's a must for modernist ears. May there be more to follow!

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