Listening Room

15 Sid RichardsonSid Richardson – Borne by a Wind
Various Artists
New Focus Recordings FCR285 (


Red Wind II. Head Opening

Red Wind IV. Anacoluthic Light



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Sid Richardson has an eloquent answer to the question: “How do you make art?” He comes together with poet Nathaniel Mackey and others to create this music. The black dots leap off the page entwined with Mackey’s lyrical recitations and the sound of horns, percussion and bass performed by the Deviant Septet. The searing heat of an artful sirocco, titled Red Wind, begins a memorable disc of Richardson’s music.

The repertoire of Borne by a Wind features three other works by Richardson. There is no sleep so deep is a gentle, reassuring work that gets a suitably sensitive performance from pianist Conrad Tao, whose fingers seem to caress the notes of the melody. LUNE follows with the mystical high and lonesome wail of Lilit Hartunian’s violin. It is a brilliantly conceived tone poem that soars skyward, evocative of a crepuscular musical event under a cloudless celestial canopy.

Richardson’s music is highly imaginative and reflects his singularly eclectic taste. The curved lenses and mirrors of a myriad of contemporary styles and movements in the arts have been telescoped into these works. The glue is, of course, Richardson’s spectral voice, somewhat reminiscent of Gérard Grisey and Kaija Saariaho. These uncanny parallels are, perhaps, most discernable in Astrolabe where the Da Capo Chamber Players’ performance is interwoven with Walt Whitman’s and Geoffrey Chaucer’s poetry, the whispered climax of which brings this remarkable disc to a dramatic end.

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