Ballets & Solos = JOSEPH PEHRSON; OTTO LUENING; Dance; GENE PRITSKER; PAT HARDISH; DAN COOPER – Soloists/Int. St. Cannibals Ens.

by | Sep 8, 2011 | Classical CD Reviews

Ballets & Solos = JOSEPH PEHRSON: Good Time; OTTO LUENING: Fantasia & Dance; Dance Sonata; GENE PRITSKER: A Challenge to the Dark; Dead Souls; PAT HARDISH: Solo for Pete; DAN COOPER: Dance Suite – Greg Baker, guitar/ Lynn Bechtold, violin/ Peter Jarvis, drums/ Taka Kigawa, piano/ The International Street Cannibals Ensemble – Composers Concordance Records COMCON 001, 47:39 [Distr. by Naxos] **:
I am not even sure a web magazine purported to bring the very best of audiophile recordings needs to cover this disc; it’s claustrophobic in the extreme, very dry, far too closely-miked, and recorded at such a loud level that I had to turn my machine down a full 12 digital notches in order to tolerate it. What the close-up sound does is to expose all out of tune moments in the ensemble pieces, and gives an especially harsh and grating sound to the instruments. But duty calls…
The International Street Cannibals Ensemble is well-known in the New York area, and its members and associated guests well-respected. According to the blurb on this first release of Composers Concordance Records, the goal is to “release recordings of 20th and 21st century composers/performers presented in an exciting format and recorded with an aesthetic of clarity and studio precision.” I can’t see that any of that has been accomplished in this release—notes are non-existent, the format is nothing new or special, and the music nothing spectacular. Most of the full ensemble pieces (violin, flute, trumpet, cello, bass clarinet, acoustic and classical guitars, drums, and piano, essentially) are pop and jazz-flavored but break no new ground in any way, and inspire only mild interest. The two works by Otto Luening are very nice, and though he was an electronic music pioneer he really was not a very good composer, but his violin solo Fantasia & Dance is a very fine work played well by Lynn Bechtold. Dead Souls by Gene Pritsker (producer of this album) is quite striking and probably the best piece on the album. Outside of that I am afraid I cannot muster much enthusiasm for this even though I know these folks have a dedicated legion of fans. Do yourself a favor and definitely sample these pieces online first if you can.
— Steven Ritter

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