David KECHLEY (b.1947)
1. Dancing - Four Movements for five percussionists playing 44 instruments (1982) [10:48]
2. Design and Construction - Trialogues, for trumpet, saxophone & percussion (2010) [18:59]
3. Untimely Passages - a Slow Groove & Chaconne, for marimba, flugelhorn & percussion (2011) [7:54]
4. Available Light - Midwinter Musings, for flute & harp (2005) [14:57]
5. Colliding Objects - Interactions, for piano & percussion (2008) [23:35]
Timetable (Matthew Gold, Joseph Tompkins, Matt Ward (percussion) (1,2,5)
Eric Poland, Chris Thompson (percussion (1)
Tom Bergeron (trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet (2,3)
Steven Bodner (alto/baritone/soprano saxophone(2)
Candy Chiu (marimba) (3)
Linda Chatterton (flute) (4)
Ina Zdorovetchi (harp)(4)
Doris Stevenson (piano) (5)
rec. No details given. DDD
INNOVA 829 [76:23]
Seattle-born David Kechley is Professor of Music at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. This is his first CD for Innova, but some of his music has appeared previously on Albany Records, Reference Recordings and elsewhere.
The five works heard here, written for small percussion - and/or wind-based ensembles, span thirty years of creativity, although in fact only the title work is more than half a dozen years old. To appear on Innova, composers must - at least in theory - be "somehow non-conformist, individualistic, and groundbreaking", but Kechley takes a surprisingly orthodox approach to writing. Thus, in spite of certain (tasteful) nods towards the postmodernism that many American musicians in particular have assimilated with abandon, much of Kechley's music is lyrical and formally limpid in an almost old-school way.
Where percussion instruments are the focus of musical attention, rhythmic energy is always likely to be prominent, and such is the case with Kechley, particularly in both Dancing and Colliding Objects, where the effect is almost one of improvisation. Yet with harmonies light and diatonic, melody is never far away: in contradistinction to modernists and minimalist/crossover flunkeys, Kechley is not afraid to reminisce. Available Light, for example, looks back, consciously or otherwise, to the Neo-classicism of Stravinsky and Poulenc, whilst the trumpet in Untimely Passages is tunefully soulful. Yet Kechley still manages to sound artistically contemporary, whether by dint of instrumentation - marimba and exotic percussion usually work well! - or through the subtle employment of vernacular or, in Design and Construction, quasi-Futurist idiom. At any event, the discordant or atonal expressionism suggested by the album title never materialises and Kechley's music reveals itself as accessible and even quite catchy.
Sound quality, as always with Innova, is immaculate. The digipak case has no booklet - notes are printed straight onto the card. This obviously limits the amount of information provided, but the detail is sufficient for the casual reader, although language lovers may wish to write to Innova for allowing "comes to it's hypnotic close". No recording details are supplied, but as far as dates go, 2011 (or 2012) is indicated.
Collected reviews and contact at artmusicreviews.co.uk
Accessible and even quite catchy.