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David Kechley: Colliding Objects

Release Date: 09/25/2012 
Label:  Innova   Catalog #: 829   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  David Kechley
Performer:  Chris ThompsonEric PolandSteven BodnerTom Bergeron,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Timetable
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

KECHLEY Dancing 1. Design and Construction 2,3,4. Untimely Passages. 2,5 Available Light. 6,7 Colliding Objects 4,8 1 Timetable; 2 Tom Bergeron (tr); 3 Steven Bodner (sax); Read more class="SUPER12">4 Matthew Gold (perc); 5 Candy Chu (marimba); 6 Linda Chatterton (fl); 7 Ina Zorovetchi (harp); 8 Doris Stevenson (pn) INNOVA 829 (76:12)

Years ago I encountered a piece for sax quartet by David Kechley titled Stepping Out , and was charmed by its sweet spirit and catchy tunes and harmonies. Kechley (I can’t find a birthdate anywhere, but I estimate c.1950) has taught most of his mature life at Williams College in northwestern Massachusetts, which is a very nice gig indeed. He’s been consistently productive, and this collection of pieces from 1982-2011 (and all but one from the past decade) is a fine survey and presentation of his strengths.

Kechley has several great creative assets. One is wit. Dancing (1982) for percussion quintet has pleasingly tricky rhythmic grooves throughout, and the composer also knows how to choose particular instrumental timbres (and their combinations) for maximum effect. It’s very economical but never austere. He also has the gift of a good tune, which I noted throughout the program, though perhaps most of all in Untimely Passages (2011), a chaconne in memory of conductor/saxophonist Steven Bodner, who died tragically young a little over a year ago, and whose passing still reverberates as a shock through the Williams community. (Bodner is featured as a performer on the 2010 Design and Construction , his last recorded performance; I hear even a hint of gamelan in the lines here.) Available Light (2005) is the most lyrical offering, not too surprising, considering its instrumentation of flute and harp. And Colliding Objects (2008), at three movements played without pause for 23 minutes, is the most ambitious work on the program. It has propulsive rhythms, a rock-solid harmonic practice with a largely modal basis, and instrumental parts that lock together into an intricate clockwork. The piano and percussion synthesize into a sort of “meta-instrument.”

All these works are beautifully performed, and the recording is clear and direct.

Kechley is a composer with real integrity, concerned first of all with making well-wrought, inventive, and expressive music. He eschews superficial flash, but still delights in color. A fine composer portrait.

FANFARE: Robert Carl
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Works on This Recording

Dancing by David Kechley
Performer:  Chris Thompson (Percussion), Eric Poland (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Timetable
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982 
Design and Construction by David Kechley
Performer:  Steven Bodner (Saxophone), Tom Bergeron (Trumpet), Matthew Gold (Percussion)
Written: 2010 
Available Light by David Kechley
Performer:  Linda Chatterton (Flute), Ina Zdorovetchi (Harp)
Written: 2005 
Colliding Objects by David Kechley
Performer:  Doris Stevenson (Piano), Matthew Gold (Percussion)

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