Monday, April 27, 2020

Jackson Greenberg, First Light EP

It is safe to say that music will never end so long as there are humans to make it and hear it. And all the while the legacy of that making cannot stand still because there is ever the new. Here on this COVID-19 sheltering Friday in April I have another worthwhile album of New Music to share with you.

It is an EP of the music of a composer new to me, one Jackson Greenberg. The EP is entitled First Light (Ravello RR8031) after the first of two compositions featured on the album.

The title work depicts a kind of gradual upward rising-swimming from deep in the seabound core to the light at the surface of the water, a long and still, surrounded ascent depicted in droning unfoldings and gradually evolving light and texture transposed to orchestral sound, ever closer to the visible and so ever more actively hypnotic. It was inspired by listening to an electronic alteration, a stretching of a snippet of music, then using a part of that and writing an orchestral soundscape that took off from that sound. It is moving music, very meditative and cosmic.

"The Panther" follows as a worthy contrast. A recitation in German of Rainer Marie Rilk's poem  threads its way though the work  a fair number of times as the strings and extended aural sustains envelop the hearer. The music is expressive with a warm and epic tonality, the new primal Post-Romantic equivalent perhaps of some elemental "Verklarte Nacht"? Or maybe not exactly. Really it lives for my ears as a feelingful breath of fresh air. Tonal, yes. Yearning without being maudlin, mysterious more than material, harmonically involved, yet also elemental.

In all, this EP gives us Jackson Greenberg in ways revealing and most energizing and hopeful in mood. Right now we may need a little of that and it makes me too want to hear more of his work. Bravo.

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