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Thursday, April 2, 2015

William Blank, Reflecting Black, Swiss Romande Orchestra, Pascal Rophe, David Lively

I have been listening to a contemporary orchestral disk as a download and I don't have a great deal of information to go on as to what it is all about. No matter, because it is worth hearing. The composer is one William Blank. The album is titled after one of the works, Reflecting Black (Aeon). The Swiss Romande Orchestra under Pascal Rophe do the honors, with David Lively on solo piano.

The music is quite evocative in a high modernist mode. "Reflecting Black," "Ebbe(n)" and "Exodes" are sprawling, long-form modernist essays with rather dark-colored orchestration, with in part untempered or quarter tone tuning.

All three works are of a piece. One illuminates the other in sequence until, in the end, one has a good idea of William Blank as presented here. The piano part is difficult in a very modern virtuoso way and Lively shows he is up to the challenge with a first-rate reading.

This is music that unfolds gradually, darkly, with rapid passages that contrast every so often the long unwindings of the scores. Blank is high modernist without showing influences on his sleeve. He is an original and the music gives us a provocative look at another way to sound avant.

It will appeal to those who favor avant garde approaches. The reward is a composer worthy of serious attention and performances that do all to realize the original sounds with precision and flair.


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