Glass Farm Ensemble – In Four – Music by LOUIS ANDRIESSEN, YVONNE TROXLER, PETER HERBT, ELIZABETH HOFFMAN and WOLFGANG HEINIGER. Glass Farm Ensemble – Innova Recordings

by | Jul 18, 2008 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

Glass Farm Ensemble – In Four – Music by LOUIS ANDRIESSEN, YVONNE TROXLER, PETER HERBT, ELIZABETH HOFFMAN and WOLFGANG HEINIGER. Glass Farm Ensemble – Innova Recordings 700, 47:36 **** :

(Taimur Sullivan – soprano, tenor, and baritone saxophone; Oren Fader  – electric guitar; Matthew Gold – percussion, marimba, drums; Yvonne Troxler – piano)

If you think you’d might like some exciting new sounds made by a quartet of saxophone (soprano, tenor or bass), electric guitar, percussion and piano, then the Glass Farm Ensemble is for you. Individually and collectively, the instruments honk, squeak, whine, cry, batter, tick, tock, clang, chime, sing and generally surprise.

All but one of the works on the program was written for the Glass Farm Ensemble’s regular line-up; all five move easily if ambiguously through a universe of musical galaxies that might be variously described as rock, jazz, experimental, contemporary, and so on.

The stunner on this disc is Yvonne Troxler’s “Kaleidoscop,” which takes a basic musical concept and works miracles with it, highlighted by an unforgettable,cartoon-ish central movement that recalls Bugs Bunny playing classical piano at the Hollywood Bowl. Peter Herbert’s “Deafening Silence” is a riveting voyage through unpredictable soundscapes. The music by Louis Andriessen and Elizabeth Hoffman reveals their beauties less easily, and Wolfgang Heiniger’s “In Four” is an initially dour, introverted mood piece.

The Glass Farm concerts were inaugurated in 2000 when pianist Yvonne Troxler began performing programs of new music by cutting-edge American composers and by Europe’s thriving new music scene in the industrial Glass Farm Building on Manhattan’s far westside. By the fall of 2003 the Glass Farm Ensemble had moved to the Tenri Cultural Center, a non-profit organization in Greenwich Village whose mission is to promote the study of Japanese language and the appreciation of international art forms.

As with the best audiophile recordings, the quality of the performance is crucial. Here, each of the instrumentalists is almost supernaturally alive to the quality of each sound they make, making listening to the recording as much of a tour de force as it must have been making it. In sum, very good stuff, with liner notes by the composer. Only downside: the overly-clever graphic design of the booklet makes the notes almost impossible to read.

– Laurence Vittes

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