Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tymoczko: Crackpot Hymnal - Great Music, Great Fun

Dmitri Tymoczko: Crackpot Hymnal 
Corigliano Quartet
Amernet Quartet
Illinois Modern Ensemble, Stephen Taylor, conductor
Bridge Records

If I had to sum up Dmitri Tymoczko's music in a phrase, I'd say it's serious music that doesn't take itself seriously. At least, that's the impression this new release of Tymoczko's chamber music left with me.

All the works on Crackpot Hymnal are carefully constructed, with plenty of substance and depth. But the basic building blocks borrowed from rock, jazz, blues, gospel, and even movie soundtracks. It's all blended together in a heady mixture of high-energy gravitas that I found irresistable.

And then there are the titles: "Crackpot Hymnal," "This One was Supposed to be Atonal.. "(from Typecase Treasury), "A Roiling Worm of Sound" (from Eggman Variations)... Great stuff!

Each of the four works are musical gems. Another Fantastic Voyage, for chamber orchestra and piano, captures the essence of 50's sci-fi movie scores without resorting to either parody or quotations. Typecase Treasury, written for string quartet plus bass, is a compendium of styles, each movement exploring a different subgenre of music. The piano quintet Eggman Variations begins with a simple diatonic pattern and ends in, well, a roiling worm of sound.

Crackpot Hymnal is serious fun.

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