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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Gene Pritsker, Eclectic Music Extravaganza

Perhaps a rather simple proposition? That is, that New Music does not always have to be foreboding, so serious as to be hard work to hear? I am dedicated to the proposition that all New Music is and should be fun to hear. Every work an adventure. Every possibility potentially there to hear at any moment. Every sky a rainbow? Well not every sky. But I do believe that New Music is as fun as anything! Maybe as much fun as a barrel full of monkeys? Composer Gene Pritsker knows what I mean. Because he never writes a work that intends to be deliberately arcane or difficult. And mind you, I like arcane and difficult things! I like the opposite too.

With today's music program we get something that is more or less pure fun. Here the "eclectic" in the album title is no accident.  For this is an all-Pritsker program of chamber music that while quite serious about itself is nevertheless fearless in what it allows itself to view or to appropriate for the end of the works at hand.

So the listen is a rewarding one on this album. You put it on and get some really worthwhile recompositional reworkings of Bach's theme from the first movement of the "Well Tempered Clavier," for example, and I think of how Satie did something like this on a Clementi Sonatina. If that is eclectic and it no doubt is, it is in the best way. But the eclectic has a horizontal axis too. It is not just one like paired again its like. It is all influences in cross-spectrum. So then too you listen and hear Gene taking on...Death Metal in some really fetching antics for vocal, piano and drum set. Then how about some piano music that unabashedly works within a ragtime Jopliniana mode to contribute a new spin on the rag possibilities?

We get eleven short works or short multi-movement works and they are all good to hear. There is no doubt that "Modernism" is what we have as opposed to post-post variety packs (have to be of a certain age for this aside? As in Post Toasties?) And the eclec-ticity is not so much a shocking thing as a familiar and reassuring sort of familiarity-in-difference. I do recommend you hear this by all means. Gene Pritsker is a force! Bravo.

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