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Monday, March 22, 2021

Sid Richardson, Borne by a Wind


Some composers create music as they might breathe. The music follows upon itself in a natural flow, like conversation idealized into a musical transform. That's the feeling I get listening to Sid Richardson on his recent Borne by a Wind (New Focus Recordings FCR285).

It in part centers around the poetry of Nathaniel Mackey, a kind of Post-Beat brilliance well suited to getting articulated around a musical incubation, so to speak. The five movement "Red Wind" defines that, in recitation of Mackey fleshed out further by soprano Melissa Hughes and the Deviant Septet (with wind, contrabass and percussion to take on Jazz or New Music inflections alternately) giving shape and form to the poetic imagery. It all proceeds in ways that channel Jazz and New Music,  to further everything and make it make a kind of perfect aural sense, poetic, meaningful Jazz-Classical Modern elements and a touch of World, all wrapped into one. 

I've heard "Red Wind" a bunch of times so far and it keeps making more and more of an impression on me, so that is a happy thing. Rounding out the program are three additional chamber gems--"There is no sleep so deep" for solo piano, "LUNE" for solo violin, and "Astrolabe" for the six instrumentalists of the Da Capo Chamber Players. All three pieces further deepen our appreciation of the advanced, eloquent and limber contemporary inventiveness of Richardson. 

The piano piece is in the Ultra-Modern performative mode, beautifully done by Conrad Tao. "LUNE" gets concentrated soundings by Lilit Hartunian. It is meditative, open, empty and full at the same time, redolent with motivic insistence without taking on the mesmeric periodicity that old-school Minimalism typically worked towards.

"Astrolab" does for sextet what "LUNE" did for solo violin--it unwraps a kind of unified musical idea only in more complex and multivoiced ways that unveil variational endlessnesses.

As is usually the case these blog words are not meant to provide a definitive analog to the sounds so much as pique curiosity and suggest the directionality of an album. So that. On the basis of this Borne by a Wind program Sid Richardson is an important voice on the New Music scene today. The entire program combines sound color and eloquent linings ever. Highly recommended.

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