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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Gillian Smith, Into the Stone, Music for Solo Violin by Canadian Women, Ho, Sokolovic, Krausas, Agocs, Laplante

Every day more New Music. Truly there can be no end and there is no sign at least on the surface that humanity is losing its musical sense, its endless striving toward the NEW. So today is no exception with violinist Gillian Smith and her anthology of solo violin works by Canadian women entitled Into the Stone (Leaf Music LM228).

Ms. Smith's fine playing allows us to hear in full virtuoso dimension Alice Ping Le Ho's "Caprice," Ana Sokolovic's "Cinque Danze per violino solo," Veronika Krausas' "Inside the Stone," Kati Agocs' "Versprechen (Promise)," and Chantale Laplante's "Le ciel doit entre proche."

The music has high intensity and Expressionist energy more than Romantic passion, and so fits well into the Modernity we occupy today. Gillian Smith puts a concentrated focus on it all and makes us arise to the music actively with dynamic appreciation. The music references subtly the fiddle-folksy elemental at times (in a way as a novelist might use local forms in a dialog?) and at the same time follows its way into the adventuristically edgy melodic-harmonic, generally with a key center but abstracted as open and forward leaning. All is in the service of a timbrally vibrant violin expression that rings true at all points. And yet somehow the spirit of solo Bach is never entirely distant, happily. It is within a tradition; it is learned in violinistic means yet completely of our time.

Every work shows a true connoisseurship of the violin and its capabilities and in many ways composer and instrumental artist conjoin in perfect mutuality, in continuous performativity. That sets this CD apart as something special.

Fine playing, captivating compositions. Dial MV for Modern Violin, by all means. Do listen if you have time. It is in important ways a solo concert triumph, well worth your time.

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