Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Jessica Pavone's Chamber Music Based on Leonard Cohen
The post-before serious music world is not unlike the contemporary visual arts situation. It is OK to evoke any previous style, combine it with other contrasting styles, bring in "popular' elements, in short, do whatever seems to work for the artist.
Jessica Pavone's Songs of Synastry and Solitude (Tzadik) fits comfortably in with that. It's a suite of pieces for string quartet, with contrabass replacing the usual second violin part. The music is based on songs from Leonard Cohen's Songs of Love and Hate. However it is not necessary to search slavishly for original motifs and whatnot from Mr. Cohen's work to appreciate the music. It stands on its own.
This is tonal music that has a lyrical, reflective, well balanced kind of sobriety to it. That doesn't mean it's overly somber, though it has that quality. It is music that transcends modernity without reverting to some overt form of neo-romanticism or neo-classicism. It's just neo. And quite an intriguing listen.