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Libertad (for 6 players)

Maria De Alvear

World 0001

This is the first cd by this Spanish-born, Germany-residing composer/improvisor. De Alvear’s piece for 2 pianists, 2 vocalists, trombone and percussion attempts to revive the wolf archetype, which she feels Western culture has suppressed through its over-rationality. It’s in some ways like a large-scale version of Meredith Monk’s pieces circa "Dolmen Music." But that only gives a rough approximation of this stunning record. De Alvear and Lozano chant and wail in the Cherokee language and evoke Middle Eastern and eastern European vocalisms. This group has made a new world-uniting ritual music of great power and beauty, far transcending any New Age connotations that description may imply. Radiant, cathartic and hard to believe, given the mediocrity of so much of today’s compositional and improv music.

Maria De Alvear
World 0002

This is more of a true composition in the formal sense. There’s not really any noticeable improv here. But there is improvisation in the juxtaposition and fusing of disparate, seemingly irreconcilable elements. The first 6-7 minutes suggests a contemporary classical impression of a ritual Tibetan Orchestra. At section’s end, the percussion specifically quotes this. Then strings take over for a brief, vaguely John Adams-like passage. This segues into a somewhat Ivesian portion, as if the old man had updated his "Unanswered Question." But there is nothing imitative here; the above sources are merely suggested. Her combination of modern and ancient shows that De Alvear is continuing Scelsi’s and Partch’s work and doing it in winning ways. Would that American composers had her nerve, her heart and vision.

                              Richard Grooms


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