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Monday, November 28, 2016

Gene Pritsker, Melodies Alone Can Proudly Carry Their Own Death

With to date more than 580 compositions completed, Gene Pritsker can certainly be said to be prolific. And yet none of the works I have had the pleasure to have heard sound formulaic or hasty. Quite the contrary. His music is new in the most important sense, filled with a contemporary, dynamic ethos and a meaningful synthesis of new music classical per se, a strain of neo-classical at times, plus the pronounced and creative influence of rock, jazz, soul and rap, depending upon the work at hand.

I've covered quite few of his releases on these and related blog pages. Today I am back with another goodie, Melodies Alone Can Proudly Carry Their Own Death, The Chamber Music of Gene Pritsker (Composers Concordance 0037).

The album culls together eight distinguished short-to-somewhat-longer works in ever-varying configurations: solo violin, solo cello, bass clarinet and percussion, piano and drums, violin and cello, flute, clarinet and piano, and bass clarinet and electric guitar.

In a way anything goes here but it goes in ways that stand out as fully Pritskeresque--finely constructed pieces with idiomatic part writing, stylistic multiplicity, rhythmic vitality and a recognizable Pritsker wholeness. Perhaps only Zappa before him has combined so much and so selectively, yet with such individual personality.

We never feel, though, that we are looking back, as much as we are moving forward. Gene Pritsker is a composer of our times, and undeniably one of the most original, daring and satisfying.

This chamber volume reminds us of that forcefully. Hear this and hear where we are now, one place at least!

Very recommended.

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