Cedille Records CDR 90000196
On their their 12th Cedille release the outrageously talented Pacifica Quartet offers a look into unity within plurality. The three composers represented have all received the Pulitzer prize for music; yet their approaches to creating important music shine brightly with individuality.
One hears Asian harmonies, Native American song, East European folk dance, and the black chaos of the Holocaust in Shulamit Ran’s String Quartet No. 3.
Jennifer Higdon’s Voices suggests breakthroughs in science and technology, from the violence inside an atomic collider, to Debussy playing Ben Franklin’s new glass harmonica, before retiring in a long horizon of melancholy and loss.
Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Quintet for alto saxophone and string quartet sweeps across North America, from a Grand Canyon sunrise to an Appalachian Spring to Thelonious Monk playing his angular jazz in Chicago, wisps of smoke rising from his ashtray.
The Quartet in Residence at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, Pacifica are stunningly good musicians and this package should delight anyone knowledgeable about, or curious about, new music.