Folklore Imaginaire is the name of Serbian-born Canadian composer Ana Sokolović’s newest CD. With six works performed by Montreal’s Ensemble Transmission, a mixed chamber ensemble for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion and piano, the recording is a vibrant demonstration of the rhythmic vitality and scope of Sokolović’s compositional talents. Each piece is scored for different combinations of instruments, ranging from the haunting and atmospheric sounds of bass flute and piano in Un bouquet de brume to the effervescent Ciaccona for the full ensemble.
One of the most striking characteristics of Sokolović’s music is the influence of her roots in Balkan music. Her music never descends into pastiche folk music, but rather it’s the driving spirit of her heritage that shines through in unique ways in dialogue with her own creative strategies. Her sense of humour is evident particularly in Portrait parle, a trio for violin, cello and piano, in which she uses a police document from around 1900 that gives tips on how to describe the human body when filing criminal reports. She uses these depictions of the forehead, hair, nose and lips, for example, as a basis for her musical transformations. In Mesh, she uses the instructions for how to use a hair dryer as her inspiration.
Sokolović’s music appeals to a wide variety of listeners. Her ear for unique sonorities combined with classically based strategies for musical transformation blended with a dynamic pulse that runs throughout each piece makes this CD a multi-varied and rich listening experience.