Search This Blog

Monday, March 15, 2021

Robert Honstein, Middle Ground, Music for Solo Violin and Electronics, Kate Stenberg


The music of Robert Honstein has not crossed my listening path all that much (but I've appreciated what I've heard on a couple of anthologies. Type his name in the search box above for those.) Today we consider an EP program devoted solely to his music, Middle Ground  (OM 2030) for solo violin and electronic manipulation, played nicely by Kate Stenberg.  There is a film that goes with the music but I have not seen it as yet. The sound work in itself attracts one's attention in very good ways either way, at any rate.

The music divides into three interrelated movements. The violin sounds out from a sonic stage that is a little bit echo-wet a la ECM. The middle section seems to have a subtly slight digital delay.

The first part "Too Far" starts the music out with a quiet mystery--somehow not unrelated to some of the thoughtful, introspective chamber sounds we have heard most definitively from the great Arvo Paert yet Honstein is singingly original in its own right. The signal splits so that the violin answers self duet-style in lyrically radical tonality, with a diatonic sweetness that does not cloy.

"Too Close" has a bit of digital delay and/or multiple tracking and produces a steady-state New Music fiddling that holds its own in minor mode that sounds almost ethnic in a post-Modernity kind of way. It pleases me greatly and holds my attention. Perhaps you too would feel that way? It is music easy to like yet not at all predictable.

The finale, "Bridging the Gap" peacefully unwinds around diatonic lower and higher register call-and-answer passages that spellbind without assertively calling attention to themselves.

The music has its say then fades off into quiet. It is not easy to present a musical front that is simple yet not the least bit banal. Robert Honstein's music and Kate Stenberg's focused and subtle violin performance execution pull together to create a markedly deep impression, a special sort of simplicity that refreshes as it expresses. 

Well done! I recommend this for the seekers of what one might call Tone-Mystery Modernism. Nice.

No comments:

Post a Comment