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Monday, December 18, 2023

Linda Catlin Smith, Dark Flower, The Thin Edge New Music Collective


Linda Catlin Smith is a composer getting attention in good ways with her work in recent years including especially her new album Dark Flower (Red Shift CD). The Thin Edge Music Collective commissioned the works and play them here with just the right (deep) level of understanding and participation. Six interrelated compositions follow a special, long form elevation of tone color and lyrical unfolding, from the larger chamber quintet of clarinet, violin, cello, piano, violin and percussion (wanderer), to dual cello, then cello, piano, violin and viola (dark flower) thereafter subtracting instruments until the finale, a solo piano presence of unbroken dramatic girth.

The music haunts in gripping ways that get you involved the more you listen.  There is a logical unfolding that has some relation to Morton Feldman's Oriental-rug-like opening out, only somewhat less abstract. It is always convincing and poised.  In the end Ms, Smith comes off nicely as a major New Music narrative voice. 

As much as any New Music composer today Linda Catlin Smith here shows us a completely affirming sense of musical discourse, a natural elegance and inventiveness that flows with inevitable charm and poise, in the process creating a tone world that is very original and compelling. Highly recommended.

Stream the whole album at Bandcamp

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