The “What’s new?” factor is foremost on the recent 2-CD set Miniaturised Concertos, Mache (Metier msv 77205), which features works for two pianos, chamber ensemble and electroacoustics. The musical director is Kate Halsall and she has done a fine job coming up with exciting new music and guiding the live performances to a satisfying fruition.
The Miniaturized Concertos disk spotlights the twin piano/keys of Kate herself and Fumiko Miyachi performing works by Andrew Poppy (with chamber ensemble) Naomi Pinnock (with percussion), Philip Cashian (with chamber ensemble), and Colin Riley (with electronics and sound design). This is new-minimalism and post-minimalism in a most original and healthy steady-state.
The second disk, Mache, utilizes multiple piano and keys by Halsall, Miyachi, and others as well as additional instruments, vocals and natural or electronic sounds in the collaging of pre-existing or specially devised compositions and their transformations. Kate and James Waterworth are responsible for the sound design and collages. The results are stunning. Seventeen composers and their works are subjected to recombinatory logic in four Mache segments. The composers involved are, for the record, Ryoko Akama, Joel Bell, Leo Chadburn, Richard Glover, Duncan McLeod, Fumiko Miyachi, Andrew Morgan, Dominic Murcott, Helen Papaioannou, Richard Perks, Emma Ruth Richards, Matthew Rowan, Rowland Sutherland, Timo Tuhkanen, Simon Vincent, Ruta Vitkauskaite and Devon Tipp.
The musical soundscapes-panoramas give us a sort of state-of-the-art window on ultra-post-modern-modern worlds. It makes for a beautiful listen.
This set breaks ground and stimulates the musical ears in rather profound ways. I do not hesitate to recommend it highly. An essential offering for what, indeed, is new out there right now.