Classical CD Reviews

Time Loops – Music in Pure Intonation – Michael Harrison, piano & composer/ Maya Beiser, cello/ Young People’s Chorus of NYC/ Payton MacDonald, artist/ Francisco J. Nunez – Cantaloupe Music

Absorbing contemporary experimental music that makes for a mostly good listen.

Published on March 15, 2013

Time Loops – Music in Pure Intonation – Michael Harrison, piano & composer/ Maya Beiser, cello/ Young People’s Chorus of New York City/ Payton MacDonald, artist/ Francisco J. Nunez – Cantaloupe Music, 60 min. [Distr. by Naxos] ****:

This recording is a follow up to Michael Harrison’s Revelation from 2007. I would describe the album as a generally experimental, minimalistic-styled exploration of intonation. It is a good listen, and the performances by Harrison at the piano and Maya Beiser, the celloist, are excellent. The cello performance is sometimes an acoustic one, and other times it is a digitally-recorded cello played backward and at varying speeds.

Just Ancient Loops is a 3 movement work that includes multi-layered cello tracks. Some of the music is rhythmic, some more contemplative. As a complete work, it is interesting and thoughtful.

Time Loops is a fresh take on Ave Maria, with the piano recorded backwards, and the cello playing the melody in reverse order. Time Loops is followed by a more traditional performance of the Bach/Gounod piece.

Avro Parts Spiegel in Spiegel is next, with an excellent performance. The program concludes with Raga Prelude and Hijaz by Harrison. It’s in these tracks that the program falters a bit, because both pieces come from a musical place outside the parameters established in the earlier tracks. While interesting compositions, Hijaz, especially with a rather atonal chorus, just doesn’t fit with the rest of the selections.  All in all, Time Loops is a worthwhile visit to some contemporary musical thought, and I’ll no doubt return to the disc to listen again, after programming the last track out of the sequence.

TrackList: Just Ancient Loops, Geneis, Chorale, Ascencion, Time Loops, Ave Maria, Spiegel Im Spiegel, Raga Prelude, Hijaz

—Mel Martin




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