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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Jeffrey Stadelman, Messenger and Other Works

Composer Jeffrey Stadelman writes the sort of music that has modernist breath and originality. His Messenger and Other Works (Navona 5896) gives us a bracing selection in a variety of configurations.

The title piece "Messenger" (2010-11) is a major offering in three movements for orchestra. It has swirling kaleidoscopes of sound in an expanded tonality. It shows an excellent feel for orchestration and sound-color painting, sonic contrasts of high drama and virtually endless invention. The Moravian Philharmonic under Per Vronsky is in excellent form throughout.

"Nine Bagatelles for Piano and Recorded Sound" (1987/2012) has wide leaps and complex pointillistic counterpoint. The heroically difficult piano part is played rousingly by the composer. The electro-acoustic part adds a second dimension that sequences with the piano for an almost concerted piano electro-ensemble interplay of an ultra-modern kind. It is music of endless fascination to me.

The brief solo flute suite "Evan's House" (2001) has three short movements in the jagged, angular virtuoso manner. It is played with very fine artistry by Elizabeth McNutt.

Finally we have a brief electro-acoustic movement "Koral 19" from a much longer work. It is fascinating and invites anticipation for the complete opus.

That's the run-down. The CD gives you an excellent introduction to what is a first-tier composer in the high-modernist tradition yet having clearly something of his own to say. I hope subsequent volumes appear in time, for Stadelman writes music we should all hear. Recommended.

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