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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Gene Pritsker, Maggots and Other Chamber Music


I've found the music of living composer Gene Pritsker to be progressive in the best sense, striving forward and fearlessly eclectic, originally wayward and waywardly original. Type his name  in the search box above and you'll see a fair number of reviews I've penned on his music. A new release by Gene is generally an event to my mind. That is especially true with the latest, Maggots and Other Chamber Music of Gene Pritsker (Composers Concordance Records COMCON0057). It is filled with adventure and daring, never content to stay in one place. 

It accents Classical Modernity by touching on multiple style sets. A fulcrum point is the central six movement "Berlin Suite," which takes up and updates Jazz inflected theatre music as practiced in pre-Nazi Germany by Weil, Krenek, Hindemith, etc. and given a forward push into the today we musically breathe in-and-out daily.

From there we get some very contemporary present-day equivalencies via Jazzed-Pop-Rock, Romantic-meets-Hip-Hop electrically inflected sounds and even a beautifully oblique Indian laced hybrid with sitar and string quartet on "The Most Incorrigible Vice." And that too has some strong roots in the anything-goes gestures in New Music with all manner of influences presented for our happy ears from a 21st Century analog to a Lou Harrison or a Frank Zappa.

Each of the generally short but concentrated works here, nine in all with two in multiple movements, each show a remarkably fluent ease of genre vocabulary that combines with the exploratory experimentalism of High Modernism as we know it, as it all sparkles and glitters with a translucency and poignant lucidity.

Free your mind of expectations and let the universal revisionism of everything possible take shape with continually surprising juxtapositions. This is music that in ordinary hands might be deemed "clever," but this is too good to be merely gesticular or anecdotal. It makes advanced and exceptional music out of a bold recombinatory logic.

Heartily recommended.

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