PATTERNS, a multi-composer compilation of contemporary chamber music, accentuates the richness, intricacy, and minimal sound that can be found in works written for small ensembles. Included on the album are works by seven composers, each offering a distinct interpretation of what defines the genre.
Asymmetry, composed by James William Stamm, features lush and soaring harmonies and melodies guided by a swift tempo. Guitarist David William Ross’s performance on George Raillard’s Disintegration opens with a distinct melody that quickly does exactly what its title suggests, disintegrating into dissonance. Two Lords, written and performed by Santiago Kodela, is a guitar suite based on the works of two contemporary non-classical guitarists, Allan Holdsworth (1946 – 2017) and Fredrik Thordendal (b. 1970). The piece’s three movements progress from the darkly toned “Of Textures” through the relaxing “Of Colours” to the rhythmically rich, upbeat “Of Mechanics.”
David Arbury’s aptly titled Four Snares, performed by the McCormick Percussion Group, is an exploration of the often-overlooked timbral possibilities of the snare drum and a celebration of the wealth of sound available to it. Daniel Adams’s Road Traversed and Reversed also features the Percussion Group’s leader, Robert McCormick. Following an introduction of overlapping roll textures, thematic ideas emerge in an interplay between McCormick’s and Lee Hinkle’s marimbas. On Bunny Beck’s emotional two-movement Suite for Sarro, a string trio evocatively captures sorrow in the face of loss. PATTERNS concludes with Jan Järvlepp’s Bassoon Quartet, comprised of three movements that range in spirit from adventurous to haunting to lively.
Together, each of the pieces on PATTERNS vibrantly illustrate the unlimited possibilities available within the ever-evolving world of chamber music.