Wild At Heart
Pauline Kim Harris
Sono Luminus DSL-92253 (sonoluminus.com)
The second release in Pauline Harris’ Chaconne Project, this album explores interconnections between time, individual worlds and music. According to Harris, each commissioned composition is a reincarnation of J.S. Bach’s Chaconne for solo violin and each composer has expressed their unique individual connection to this piece.
The music on this album is wild in the best sense of the word – an uninhibited violin wonderland of extended techniques, powerful, ingenious and enterprising. There are no memorable melodies here but instead a universe made of fragments, textures and gestures, all centered around Chaconne. The depth of sound is astonishing and Harris’ violin is so sonorous that one feels an incredible sense of expansion listening to this album. Harris has impeccable command of her instrument. She is an artist with a wild imagination, great stamina and extraordinary control.
The opening piece, Yoon-Ji Lee’s Shakonn, is a volcano of sound and energy built over a held bass note, pulling Chaconne apart and transforming it. Morsels by Elizabeth Hoffman follows, a web of lovely harmonics that create both the rhythms and textures. Sequences of single gestures are juxtaposed with empty spaces, forming delicate balances. Annie Gosfield’s Long Waves and Random Pulses has a powerful energy and occasional Gypsy flavour. Using extensive research of jammed radio signals as a foundation, Gosfield alternates whirls of notes with a ghostly noise to build the mystery.
The album closes with a grand C-H-A-C-O-N-N-E, John King’s composition that explores the form to the extreme through sequences that move from complex to simple. An imaginative and highly recommended album.