Friday, July 18, 2014

CCC 109 Andrea Tarrodi

This week the Consonant Classical Challenge features Swedish composer Andrea Tarrodi. Tarrodi is relatively young (b. 1981), but has already made a name for herself. She's won several awards for her compositions, which have been performed frequently -- and it's easy to hear why.

The daughter of composer and trombonist Christian Lindberg, Tarrodi's musical style sounds (to my ears) post-modernist.  Her motivic development can sometimes recall Stravinsky's, and her harmonic structures seem similar at times to Debussy's, while at other times more closely resembling the sound clouds of Arvo Pärt. Although Tarrodi's music doesn't fall into the major/minor framework, there is always an underlying sense of direction and a clear-cut tonal center.

"Charities" for harp and percussion strips Tarrodi's sound down to its bare essence. Throughout this impressionistic work there's a strong tonal grounding, even as the music whirls around in gossemer-like strands.

By contrast, the excerpts from her orchestral work Liguria show what Tarrodi can do with the full resources of a symphony orchestra. Here the chordal textures are thicker, the melodies more finely colored, but the essential gestures of Tarrodi's music are still there.

Tarrodi's first string quartet, "Miroirs" starts with an elegiac cello line accompanied by pulsing chord clusters that almost sound like breathing. There is a section with grinding dissonances that would send the blue hairs scurrying for the exits, but these dissonances resolve back to their tonal roots by the end of the work.

Composers like Andrea Tarrodi show us what's on the horizon of classical music -- and it sounds pretty exciting. Just as composers in the 1920's were freed from the constraints of traditional tonality, modern composers -- like Tarrodi -- are freed from the constraints of atonality. Tarrodi isn't writing music that reverts back to the post-romantics. Rather, she's moving forward, using tonality as an organizational element in a decidedly 21st Century manner.

Recommended Recordings

Future Classics II

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