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Friday, May 25, 2018

Olivia De Prato, Streya

Every day for me there is both new music and "New Music." Happily there never seems to be the least lack when I sift through for the worthy ones. Today there is something that has really caught my ear. It is an album of some six New Music compositions featuring Olivia De Prato on violin, featuring at times electronically enhanced violin and/or an independant electronics score. The album's name is Streya (New Focus Recordings FCR 193).

The first and most important thing about this album is the phenomenal way Ms. De Prato utilizes extended and more conventional techniques to create very convincing musical expressions on her violin. Whether it be a matter of transformative soundings from scrapes to double stopped glisses or with contrensic virtuosity and a kind of post-Bachian solo sublimity, Olivia De Prato gives us near breathtaking performances.

The six compositions all presume a single solo violin as the central fulcrum, then build on that premise by constructing wonderfully alive possibilities that Ms. De Prato takes well in hand and makes her own. The music when adopting the electronically enhanced violin choice makes the violin a thing out of concrete space and time to allow recurrences and synchronicities of violin self to violin self. Then of course for the works that configure the violin solo part alongside an electronics backdrop we can experience anything from chamber intimacy to near orchestral densities. Soundscapes are nearly always the result in the lush horizontal unfolding of tone and sound over time.

And in the course of the program we are treated to a single 5-10 minute work each from Samson Young, Victor Lowrie, Ned Rothenberg, Taylor Brook, Reiko Futing and Missy Mazzoli. Victor Lowrie's "Streya" deserves the slot of title cut. It is quite haunting.

What you get in the end is a very creative, intelligent, brilliant album of violin music at its most modern and advanced. Olivia De Prato is a wonder of the world, for those who appreciate the new in New Music and also for any lover of the violin well-played.

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