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Benjamin Broening: Trembling Air / Eighth Blackbird

Broening / Eighth Blackbird
Release Date: 09/11/2012 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9384  
Composer:  Benjamin Broening
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eighth Blackbird
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BROENING _like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment. Dark Wood. Traces (i). Trembling Air. Nocturne/Doubles. Traces (ii). Arioso/Doubles. Changing Light eighth blackbird BRIDGE 9384 (68:42)


The music of Benjamin Broening inhabits its own special universe. Yes, it is essentially tonal, but the tonal portions Read more generally seem to be interludes. This is another magical quality of Broening’s music, his ability to combine these snatches and interludes and come up with a cohesive composition. The opening selection, like dreams etc., is a marvelous indication of this style, and Broening shows that he can mold and alter his basic sound to fit the specific mood of a piece in Dark Wood, which reflects his experiences in the forests of Estonia. The title of this CD is Trembling Air, and in a very real sense that is an accurate description of what you hear.


I cannot over-emphasize how difficult this music is to describe, since it is both well composed and centered around specific instrumental timbres at the same time. This makes it both intellectually interesting and emotionally moving, and in the end it is the music’s emotional pull that overcomes its structure. In a piece like Nocturne/Doubles, this is especially true, as the strings and winds act almost entirely as an ambient sound reflecting the reverberation of the sparse but highly pedaled piano notes—almost like an extension of the piano frame. Following this, Traces (ii) is even sparser, giving us the ambience of the strings and winds without the piano.


In fact, as the CD progresses the music becomes ever sparser. By the time you reach Changing Light, the music has become almost a message sent by rumor. One “connects” the different fragments of the music in one’s mind to make up a complete musical statement…or not, depending on your proclivity. That’s another fascinating aspect of Broening’s music; you can listen to it either way.


The overall effect of this CD is like walking through a strange hallway, opening doors that take you into peripheral hallways, never quite arriving anywhere specific but always feeling as if you are making progress and getting somewhere. Perhaps that sounds a bit strange, but so is this music. And I can assure you, it’s a trip worth taking.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1. Trembling Air by Benjamin Broening
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eighth Blackbird
Period: 20th/21st Centuries 
Written: USA 
2. Dark Wood by Benjamin Broening
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eighth Blackbird
Period: 20th/21st Centuries 
Written: USA 
3. Traces by Benjamin Broening
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eighth Blackbird
Period: 20th/21st Centuries 
Written: USA 
4. Changing Light by Benjamin Broening
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eighth Blackbird
Period: 20th/21st Centuries 
Written: USA 
5. Nocturne Doubles by Benjamin Broening
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eighth Blackbird
Period: 20th/21st Centuries 
Written: USA 
6. Arioso Doubles by Benjamin Broening
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eighth Blackbird
Period: 20th/21st Centuries 
Written: USA 
7. Like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment by Benjamin Broening
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eighth Blackbird
Period: 20th/21st Centuries 
Written: USA 

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