Notes and Editorial Reviews
Slagwerk Den Haag
CA 21072 (54:29)
Two decades younger than the progenitors of Minimalism (LaMonte Young, Steve Reich, Philip Glass), Michael Gordon plows a similar field but reaps a somewhat different crop. Expanding on their principles of repetition, variation, and transformation with a raised-on-rock-generation populist sensibility and a large dose of chutzpah (one of his orchestral pieces is
Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony
), he’s been called “a major composer of his generation” by Robert Carl in these pages (
26:3). I can’t say I’ve heard enough of his music—or that of others of his generation, for that matter—to agree or disagree.
seems to be simultaneously typical and atypical of Gordon’s style, as it reflects his fundamental interest in rhythm while denying him the palette of instrumental colors he frequently employs. The title puns on both the wooden percussion employed—nothing more than six 2 x 4s of varying length—and the subtle alterations of timbre that occur as the performers change mallets or methods of striking the wood. The music is a continuous single movement, although the wavelike shifts in tempo relationships, dynamics, and density of sound suggest an overall sectional design, reminiscent of Steve Reich’s
. The rhythmic patterns created by the six members of Slagwerk Den Haag expand, contract, twist, and echo in a gradually evolving manner more ritualistic than dramatic.
While I wouldn’t imagine this to be the best introduction to Gordon’s music, it should appeal to percussion enthusiasts. By the way, the disc is housed in a 5 3/4 x 5 3/4 x 1-inch hinged wooden box. If you are concerned about how this package will fit on your shelves with the rest of your jewel boxes, the music may be downloaded in mp3 files from iTunes and Amazon.
FANFARE: Art Lange
Works on This Recording
Timber, for 6 percussionists by Michael Gordon Philharmon
Slagwerk Den Haag
Venue: Hilversum, Netherlands
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