Victoria Bond chamber music full of revelations

Not a lot of Victoria Bond’s music has been recorded. To the best of my knowledge, this Naxos release marks the sixth her music’s appeared on. And only the third album exclusively devoted to her music.

Bond has an active career as a conductor, but her catalog of works is also quite impressive. It includes 6 concertos, 10 operas,  6 ballets, and many other works.

This release features four works to give the listener some idea of Bond’s talent. And it also shows how inspiration seems to come to her from anywhere and everywhere.

Instruments of Revelation is a ballet based on three Tarot cards; the Magician, the High Priestess, and the Fool. Each movement presents a miniature character study of one of the card’s archetype. Bond weaves her musical tapestry out of melodies that seem to shift in and out of tonality.

Bond’s 2008 work, “Frescoes and Ash” was inspired by images found in the ruins of Pompeii. Here a variety of instruments — violin, clarinet, percussion, piano, and more — evoke the spirit of ancient Rome. Bond’s post-tonal music paints vivid pictures before it all fades away in the closing bars of the final movement.

“Leopold Bloom’s Homecoming” for baritone and piano is taken from James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” In the liner notes Bond says Joyces’ “writing resembles the way I think – not in complete sentences, but in fleeting images and allusions, in a stream of consciousness.” Bond’s music follows the flow of the words. It does more than following the text, though. Bond’s music brings out the emotional subtext, articulating what words cannot.

Binary was inspired by binary coding — 0’s and 1’s. Bond’s piano piece is a study in alternation. It’s an angular, dissonant work that resolves in an unexpectedly exciting (and mostly tonal) fashion.

The members of the Chicago Pro Musica are fully invested in their performances. And that translates into an exciting, vibrant recording.

Victoria Bond: Instruments of Revelation
Chicago Pro Musica
Naxos

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