'It is Time' for So Percussion and Steve Mackey

Q2 Music Album of the Week for October 4, 2011 | Free Download of "Movement II: Steel Drums"

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

In 2009, So Percussion collaborated at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as both composers and performers on Imaginary City, an evening-long performance based on Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities. The result was a work of startling grace and poetic cohesion, capturing the wonder of cities while soothing urban angst that comes part and parcel with living in metropolises like New York.

With their newest disc, a recording of Steve Mackey’s equally full-length It is Time, So does for temporal lengths here what it did for municipalities two years ago. Yes, unlike Imaginary City, this is a work written by a non-So member, but the ownership that the quartet holds over the work (custom tailored to their talents by Mackey) is just as complete and engrossing. Inspired by the composer’s young son, Mackey’s work warps and transmutes time and meter over the course of some 38 minutes. Each of the first four movements serves as what the composer dubs a “mini-concerto for one of the players,” speeding up, slowing down, remaining constant and dallying with unpredictability.

Premiered at Carnegie Hall last March, this recording captures So’s dexterity with more ambitious percussion works such as this. Eric Beach takes the helm of the first movement, “Metronome,” playing against a familiar constant with a cavalcade of accessories ranging from hi-hat to bells, moving into a mellower and warpier “Steel Drums” section piloted by Josh Quillen.

A highlight is Adam Sliwinski’s “Marimba,” the longest part of the work and the most emotionally-charged (a sonic representation of the sensation most of us feel realizing we’re now in October when July felt like last week). Jason Treuting goes for chaos and control in “Drums,” an apt and jazzed metaphor for the attempt to keep up with time. Its themes continue into a brief Epilogue, that ties together all other themes, demonstrating just how truly bizarrely—and wonderfully—fluid our weekly allotment of 168 hours truly is.

Tags:

More in:

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.

Follow WQXR 

Sponsored

About Q2 Music Album of the Week

Q2 Music's Album of the Week is our weekly review of the newest and most dynamic contemporary classical releases. It focuses on musical discovery, world premiere recordings and fresh perspectives on today's classical landscape. Read our review and stream the album on-demand for one week only at www.wqxr.org/q2music/

 

Follow Q2 Music 

Q2 Music Newsletter

Get the latest news on upcoming Webcasts, festivals, interviews and shows.

Feeds