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Friday, August 4, 2017

Brian Current, Faster Still, Chamber Works

Brian Current, a living Canadian composer, manages on his CD Faster Still (Centrediscs 24217) to toggle between high modernism (in his advanced whirlwinds of colorful execution and sometimes advanced, edgy tonality) and postmodernism (in his use of tonality and sometimes in the notefull presentation). As a composer of his time, he is not afraid to mesh modern and postmodern elements in a single work, so that virtually anything can and does happen in service to the aesthetic whole. All this on the multistranded chamber works written between 1996 and 2016.

Current comes at us like a force of nature, of irregular eddying torrents of wind or water, with clusters and deft collisions of notes and sound colors. All happens via a series of five provocative chamber works and a bonus concluding work for chamber orchestra.

There is a freshening to be heard throughout. None of this is precisely predictable; most of the works are unexpected in their post-Boulezian motility, like particles hitting one another at high speeds in a collider or wafts of coloristic atmosphere formation.

The opening "Inventory" (2006) sets the pace with an excitement generated out of soprano Patricia O'Callighan's pleasing virtuosity and the flowing sureness of the chamber orchestra Slipstream. This is marvelous music, built through a genuinely insightful layering of idiomatic part writing and the effect the totality has in generating movement.

From there it continues fruitfully and vitally. The remaining four works are all distinctive and brilliant. If I only cover what I generally like on these pages, please rest assured I like CDs such as this with a heartiness that is in no way feigned.

So if I might be so bold as to suggest, Faster Still will engage and delight virtually anyone who favors the new and the inventive possibilities still available to our collective musical senses. Brian Current is the real thing and this music makes for essential listening.

Grab this one!

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