Review of LNT132: Mihailo Trandafilovski: Chamber Music
Rob Barnett, MusicWeb
Trandafilovski was born in Macedonia and that country's traditional music is said to underpin and weave in and out of these pieces. The composer studied at Michigan State and has drawn favourable attention from the SPNM and other luminaries of contemporary music. Recordings of his Quartet and Duet for violin and piano have been issued by SOCOM Macedonian RTV. He has a worthy and influential ally in the violinist Peter Sheppard Skaerved who may be better known for his recordings of Henze, Gloria Coates and Rochberg. Trandafilovski espouses dissonance and it is within that compass that folk voices are liberated and float free among the shining transparent tangle of shards and tessellae. Strike Flow for a small instrumental ensemble is very much in this vein. Sheppard and the composer play the six pieces from the Cekori cycle. The music is more concerned now with the long line though there are salty Bartókian dissonances both loud and whispered. We change to the solo violin of Caroline Balding for Crystal Threads. The landscape here is in much the same realm as the Cekori pieces - a sort of arcane music of the remote highlands. A-de-scent takes us back to an ensemble drawn from Lontano. Stravinskian assaults and impacts including claps from the players again create both dynamism and clarity. There is considerable silence and only the finest scintillation of sound and note-cells provide coherence and shape. The Quartet is in three movements. It is played by the Kreutzer comprising Sheppard and the composer plus Morgan Goff (viola) and Neil Heyde (cello). The music is spiky, raw, rife with whimpers and whispers, secretive and insect-like. The 13 minute Violin Concerto is the culmination of the Cekori cycle. The music buzzes and hums being irate and even furious. Dissonance is there amid the Stravinskian fusion of sweet emollient and raspy savoury. This is intricate and raucous music. I found the experience of listening to this disc more fascinating than ingratiating. I am held by the music but do not find it specially likeable. I hope that you might. In any event I sense that the composer will take considerable pride in being represented by such dedicated music-making and informative advocacy.