Gone For Foreign
Cygnus is one of the most intriguing new music ensembles to have emerged in recent years. With its mixed instrumentation of winds, strings and plucked sounds, Cygnus offers the present day composer a bold new spectrum of colorful combinations to write for. And given the ensemble’s devotion to commissioning new repertoire from a stylistically broad range of composers, combined with the virtuosity with which these pieces are performed, Cygnus presents a consistently exotic and entertaining listening experience. The disc begins with David Claman’s gone for foreign- a flashy, exuberant suite in five movements, which draw from an Indian-inflected quasi-rock idiom. William Anderson’s A Giddy Thing for mandolin and pre-recorded midi plucked sounds takes its inspiration from a comment at the end of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. The Japanese/American composer Akemi Naito’s Mindscape integrates the experimental with the conventional: sensuous melodies co-exist side by side with multiphonics; conventional notation sits alongside graphically notated music. Throughout, Naito’s sensitive and poetic ear shapes the musical flow. Rolv Yttrehus’s Plectrum Spectrum is a tour de force of rhythmic energy, using Cygnus’s full complement of plucked instruments- mandolin, banjo and guitars. Milton Babbitt’s beautiful Swan Song No. 1 is remarkable for its relaxed and transparent instrumental interplay- the full ensemble rarely playing at the same time, the flow of the music, inexorable. All of the pieces on this recording were composed for Cygnus.
“Bravo to Bridge for this recording, both the concept and the excellent sound quality. Bravo to Milarsky and Cygnus for uniformly razor-sharp performances. And bravo in particular to Babbitt, whose Swan Song No. 1 is an unusual and immediately gratifying work, and Claman, who succeeds especially admirably in building a world of textures and instrument approaches within which reigns a delightful unpredictability.” - Sequenza21
David Claman: Gone for Foreign (1999)
William Anderson: A Giddy Thing (2000)
Akemi Naito: Mindscape: Four Poetic Images (2002)
Rolv Yttrehus: Plectrum Spectrum (2000)
Milton Babbitt: Swan Song No. 1 (2001-2003)