Beauty amidst anxiety

chiaroscuro-cd-cover

CHIAROSCURO

Jordan Nobles, composer.

Redshift Records

As artistic director for Vancouver’s Redshift Music Society, Jordan Nobles helps premiere new works by living composers. On this, his 9th full-length release, Nobles creates his own sonic tapestry with nearly 30 musicians.

He often paints in delicate pastels, with strings and harps and soft-mallet percussion. A graceful gamelan ensemble blends its metal timbres into the orchestral texture.  Bass clarinet and bassoon sprinkle earthy tones. French horns paradiddle back and forth. Clouds seem to scuttle overhead.

Composed in 2014, Chiaroscuro presents series of sound clusters that blossom for 7 or 8 seconds, then fade into the next. Cycles pulse in and out, sometimes recalling Steve Reich’s mesmerizing staccatos and hints of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.

In the midst of this beauty, one sometimes senses a vague anxiety.  In one instance, it paints grim scenes of post-apocalyptic devastation and pollution.

I came away from this listening experience with an appreciation of Nobles’s great artistic reach, both as composer and director.

 

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