Harmonizing Polarities in Harrison, Mazzoli and Romitelli

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In their newest album, the Talea Ensemble highlights a combination of polarities in world premiere recordings of five of Fausto Romitelli’s works. Known for mingling acoustic and electric instruments with atmospheric sound effects, his music can be disorienting in the best sense of the word. Romitelli died tragically in 2004 at the age of 49, making this recent look into his compositional aesthetic all the more compelling.

Violinist Jennifer Koh continues to mine the fertile associations between contemporary composition and the classical canon. For her newest album, "Bach and Beyond Part I," Koh pairs well-known sonatas and partitas by J.S. Bach with newly composed commissions for Missy Mazzoli (Dissolve, O My Heart) which pulls directly from Bach’s Chaconne in its use of the signature D Minor opening chord. The trajectory of the piece is Mazzoli’s own however, proving Koh’s belief that the old and new can influence each other in endlessly fascinating conversation.

Part composer, part performer and an expert in both “just intonation” and Indian ragas, Michael Harrison’s diverse career is on full display in our Album of the WeekHijaz uses a combination of western classical instruments, choir and tabla playing Indian rhythmic cycles. With cellist Maya Beiser recording and playing everything from the lowest drones to the highest singing melodies, his Just Ancient Loops is an exploration of the range of the instrument. Check out a preview of the film by Bill Morrison which accompanies the live performance of the work: