(2000) Bridge 9097
Susan Narucki, soprano
"10/10" Highest Rating
It really is about time that a solo disc dedicated to the music of Mario Davidovsky was available in the U.S., where he has been composing and teaching for decades. This release is a fitting tribute to the influential composer (and hopefully only a "good place to start"), a well-wrought collection of chamber music, excellently played and lovingly recorded.
Davidovsky is a composer of prodigious gifts, not the least of which is his capacity for instrumental timbre. He can make a small ensemble sound like an orchestra, demonstrated most beautifully in Flashbacks, Quartetto No. 2, and the String Trio, all of which are masterful works. He also has an Argentine flair and passion for the guitar, an instrument for which he writes extremely idiomatically and yet with his own individual quirky sense. David Starobin is his perfect interpreter, adding fire but playing as if it were music (as opposed to new music, an attitude that can lead to some unmusical performances).
The Synchronism No.10 is a frantic piece for guitar and tape that mediates between tender and brutal in a way that only this composer can, with some truly wild and terrifying occurrences. Even if atonal electronic music is not your bag there is much here to love. Romancero, Davidovsky's setting of Spanish texts (poet unnamed) is exquisite, and though his writing for the voice leans to the disjunct and fragmented (albeit handled with expert grace by Susan Narucki) it still manages to be passionate and melodic. Each of these pieces seems about the perfect length, the longest being just over 13 minutes. Davidovsky knows the boundaries of his material and works within them. This sort of fierce avant-garde fare isn't for everyone, but if it is a passion of yours, or it is something you think you might have open ears for but know not where to start, this is an ideal place to begin.
The involved booklet notes by Martin Brody are excellent, giving not only an overview of the music but placing the composer in context. He offers a "users guide" to the title track--a clever, thoughtful look at a single piece--while outlining a good approach to this music for anyone from the novice to the Ph.D.
- Daniel Felsenfeld, ClassicsToday.com