Rubbing Stone - Music by David Eagle, William Jordan, Hope Lee, Michael Matthews, Laurie Radford
Centrediscs CMCCD 14909
Calgary-based saxophonist Jeremy Brown compiles works by composers living in Alberta on his newest disc, “Rubbing Stone”.
The title track refers to a glacial erratic in Calgary used as a resting place by migrating buffalo. In this solo work, composer Hope Lee sets out to achieve a sense of “timelessness”; the result is reminiscent of the music of Scelsi. Her other work, Days Beyond, is more fantasia, conjuring dreamlike reflections of nature for saxophone and piano (Ami Longhi).
David Eagle’s Intonare 2 combines the colours of the saxophone, piano and various percussion instruments, alternating chromatic stasis with primal rhythmic drive and Messiaenic homophony. Percussive electronic sounds battle for prominence with the saxophone in …que la terre s’ouvre… by Laurie Radford.
William Jordan has two sonatas on this disc: the one for alto is more saxophonistic, using jazz elements and accompanied recitative; the more playful soprano sonata was originally conceived for oboe.
Michael Matthews wrote perhaps the most ambitious work on the disc, The Skin of Night. What begins as a simple melodic cell becomes a roller coaster of flourishes, followed by a lengthy weighted decay. Both Brown and Longhi are impressive.
Recitative and fantasy as a compositional device permeate all the works, but it places Brown – the protagonist – at centre stage; his colourful sound and expressive vocabulary never tire.