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Chris MURPHY Noir
Tango; Desert Star; Cafe Noir; Filbert's Rag; Coffee and Candles; Bessie Smith; Time is an Ocean; Eddie's Mambo; Gospel Song; Moonlight Waltz; Grand Hotel; Arabesque
Chris Murphy (violin)
no rec details
KUFALA MUSIC 25084 01602 [54:54]

 

 

This is music for solo violin ... but not plain or unadorned. It is lent atmosphere and mystery by an electronic accompaniment. This works very well. Thankfully we are spared drum machines.

The first two tracks are warm and oriental as if they had been written by Alan Hovhaness and using similar mannerisms and material but cloaked in a more commercially acceptable outer garment. Much the same can be said of the equally pleasing and slightly melancholic Coffee and Candles. I was expecting something more seductive. Cafe Noir curves in towards the ubiquitous tango and those Django Rainhardt and Yehudi Menuhin jazz LPs of the 1970s (remember that vogue?). Eddie's Song, Filbert's Rag and Bessie Smith are bluesy; sparer and barer. Later they get 'down and dirty' with contrasting double-bass sounds. Time is an Ocean introduces a sea-surf surging sound as part of a backdrop to a minimalistic pulsing piece. Gospel Song again presents Murphy's adaptable and skilled violin in solo without adornment. This is Murphy among the deep South gospel halls. The Moonlight Waltz has a similar nostalgic charge to Coffee and Candles. Grand Hotel surprised me. I was expecting a return to Moonlight waltzes but this is more muezzin melisma than anything else. It is largely for solo violin and is recorded in a reverberant acoustic. Arabesque is the most touching of the twelve tracks which again has the solo violin standing free of electronic atmosphere and accompaniment. It has that touching penetrating sadness that derives from Celtic and early American folk fiddle music at its least affected. If you need a crossover reference for this track perhaps think about the lovely score for the film Cold Mountain.

Further information can be gleaned from www.chrismurphy music

Fans of the violin in all its survival-sensitive glory and adaptability will want to hear this disc.

Rob Barnett


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