Yvonne TROXLER (b.1962)
Penn 1, for flute, bass flute, bass clarinet, vibraphone and piano (2006/2011) [8:15]
Shergotty, for three percussionists (2004/2011) [9:32]
Brouhaha, for violin, cello and three glass bowl players (2010) [11:24]
Susurrus, for viola, cello and piano (2011) [7:00]
Kaleidoskop, for tenor saxophone, electric guitar, percussion and piano (2005) [6:34]
Glass Farm Ensemble
rec. Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, 25-28 July 2011; Ovation Sound, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 25 August 2007 (Kaleidoskop). DDD
INNOVA 835 [42:50]
This is the first CD devoted to the music of Swiss-born, New York-based composer Yvonne Troxler. Troxler is also pianist for the Glass Farm Ensemble, the new music group she founded in 2000. Their own debut appeared on the same label in 2008 (Innova 700), a disc which also starred this recording of Troxler's Kaleidoskop.
The CD bears the title 'Brouhaha', but in Innova's words, Troxler's music is "Not as chaotic as it sounds". In fact, the five works are predominantly slow-moving and reflective. The electric guitar in Kaleidoskop must be the most tastefully subtle deployment of the instrument in art music. Its final section apart, Shergotty sounds distinctly extemporised by the three players with their various percussion instruments. The impact is pleasant and there is some rhythmic excitement in the final movement. In Brouhaha, the title seems as though it must be ironic, although with the later appearance of ball bearings being rolled around inside glass bowls, some volume is generated - to mesmerising effect.
Penn 1 takes its name from a commercial building in New York, of all things. Troxler writes that the work is inspired by musical noise generated by cities. Some listeners will doubtless hear it as merely that, even though it is far from chaotic or cacophonous. Yet the unusual scoring injects strong, saturated colour into an already vivid piece. The same can be said of Susurrus, another work whose title seems to be somewhat at odds with the music, which is often dark and tempestuous.
Incidentally, as single track pieces Susurrus and Penn 1, probably the two best works on the disc, can be downloaded from iTunes for a dollar each - a cost-effective way for the curious listener to begin to explore Troxler's imaginative and worthwhile music. As an album, there is no denying the poor deal as far as playing time is concerned, though the retail price is widely lower than the $15 indicated on Innova's website.
Engineering quality is superb. The CD case is a simple folded card affair, the disc sliding in between the two layers of the back cover. Information about the works and a brief composer bio are printed straight onto the card. There is nothing on the Glass Farm Ensemble. The complete liner-notes can be read for free here.
Collected reviews and contact at reviews.gramma.co.uk
Imaginative and worthwhile music.