Paul Lansky Angles — great chamber music

This is volume 17 of Bridge’s Paul Lansky series. It presents four recent compositions by Lansky. And it’s an album I really like. The works vary in forces and show this composer at the top of his game.

“Four’s Company” (2018) was composed for David Starobin’s guitar class. The work takes four very simple concepts and creates an engaging — and complex — movement out of each. The interplay of the lines and development of those simple concepts makes this an engaging listen

The Weis, Kaplan, Stumpf Trio perform Lansky’s “Angles.” They commissioned the work, and play it with authority and energy. Lansky once again uses simple concepts to build his music. The work is mostly tonal. When the hard-driving rhythms kick in, it almost sounds minimalist. But it isn’t. Lansky’s ideas develop too quickly and dramatically.

“Springs,” for percussion quartet was composed for the artists who perform it here — the So Quartet. According to Lansky, the music builds up kinetic energy before springing into action. So Percussion is one of the best percussion ensembles in the world. This is a first-rate performance. And speaking as a percussionist, I think the music is first-rate, too.

For the “Color Codas” Lansky presents three works that can be performed individually or as a group. Red, purple, and blue are the inspirations. Lansky composed the work for the Quattro Mani, who perform it here. To me, it sounded like the piano duo was having fun. And why not?

Lanksy wrote these works in his seventies. But there’s nothing old-fashioned about them. To me, they sounded fresh, and in a way, timeless. This volume was a pleasure to explore.

Paul Lansky: Angles
Various Artists
Bridge Records

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