06 Jan JarvleppJan Järvlepp – Sonix and Other Tonix
Various Artists
Navona Records nv6603 (navonarecords.com)

Ottawa-based Jan Järvlepp is an experienced composer, freelance and orchestral cellist, teacher and recording technician. After completing a doctorate in composition and 20th century avant-garde music, he began composing in the neo-tonal style instead, incorporating accessible classical, contemporary, world, folk, jazz, pop and rock music styles for various instrumentations. 

Sonix, composed for the Mexican Ónix ensemble, combines elements from two of his earlier works. Performed here by Trio Casals with guests Chelsey Menig flute and Antonello DiMatteo clarinet, there’s exciting listening throughout with opening fast tonal minimalistic lines, a middle section with supportive piano background below calming lyrical flute, and repeated accented descending short lines to closing loud rock chord. Trio Casals perform Trio No. 3, Järvlepp’s three movement musical protest against the rise of surveillance. The first movement Surveillance Cameras Everywhere features repeated piano rhythms with accented instrument shots imitating surveillance cameras snapping pictures. 

Nishikawa Ensemble performs Shinkansen, a two-movement ride on a Japanese bullet train musically driven here by short percussive hits. Members of the Benda Quartet perform Trio No.5, for violin, viola and cello, Järvlepp’s protest over the COVID shutdown rules. Strength in the Face of Adversity has a classically-influenced violin melody, and the constant rhythmic backdrop keeps the tense music and listener moving during the shutdown. 

The solo piano Insect Drive was composed at home during lockdown with Järvlepp’s self-described “treble sounds and bouncy rhythms.” It is performed here by Anna Kislitsyna. Trio Casals returns for In Memoriam, a respectful, caring, sad lyrical compositional tribute for his late brother.

Listen to 'Jan Järvlepp: Sonix and Other Tonix' Now in the Listening Room

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