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Peter Rundel/Orchestra Carbon/Jenny Lin (Piano)/JACK Quartet: Elliott Sharp: The Boreal *

Track List

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Album Remarks & Appraisals:

Elliott Sharp, a central figure in the avant-garde and experimental music scene in New York City since the late 1970s, is the featured composer on Starkland's "The Boreal" album, which offers 4 recent, major works. The album is "incandescent, burning and etching new paths through the neural strata of the listener. It is unforgettable" (Frances-Marie Uitti). The Boreal was composed for and premiered by the widely acclaimed JACK string quartet. For this innovative work, Sharp created exotic alternate bows, substituting ballchain and metal springs for the traditional horsehairs. George Grella in Seen and Heard International wrote this "always interesting and powerful" composition is "a great piece, a notable signpost in the road of experimental music that parallels the standard classical tradition," producing "sounds that I have truly never heard." The JACK Quartet's John Pickford Richards comments, "Elliott Sharp is one of the most naturally experimental composers today, and his works for strings continue to push the boundaries of what these old instruments can do." Pianist Jenny Lin, who commissioned and premiered Oligosono, comments this "virtuosic tour-de-force" takes "listeners through a thrilling and provocative sonic world." Conductor David Bloom writes that Proof of Erdos "is a gripping juggernaut that builds white-hot walls of sound," and Uitti comments, "the contrasts are violent and extreme, the use of register pushing the instruments to their limits." Bloom adds, "the incomparable string players of Orchestra Carbon dig deep into their instruments to conjure unexpected and alluring sounds." The album ends with On Corlear's Hook, inspired by the diverse activities near Sharp's apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Uitti writes the "idiosyncratic, powerful, and above all, highly intelligent" work creates "dramatic instrumental contrasts" that "keep listeners on the edge of their seats."

American Record Guide, March/April 2016
Sharp opts for quick transitions between tightly-knit cells of activity. Individual instruments may contribute to these cells differently, but their purposes are always unified and coordinated. One gets the impression that there is a supremely ordered structure lying beneath the musical surface that dictates every detail. Indeed, Sharp explains in his notes for the record that "fractal geometry, chaos theory, Fibonacci numbers, and biological/genetic concepts" all inform his composition. His systematic approach is complemented by an openness to extended techniques and materials, like using sticks fitted with ball chains as bows in The Boreal. The JACK Quartet shows their usual dedication to excellent performance of such difficult music. On Oligosono, Sharp and pianist Jenny Lin use the piano as a "stringed resonator", with motive rhythms and careful manipulation of the strings leading to the reverberation of undertones and overtones. I imagine these effects must be far more impressive in person.

Album Notes

Liner Note Authors: Elliott Sharp; Frances-Marie Uitti.

Recording information: Dubway Studio; Philharmonic Hall, Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Photographers: Andreas Sterzing; M. Favareille.



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