Prism Quartet – “Paradigm Lost” (XAS Records, 2017)

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“Paradigm Lost” was released on September by “XAS Records”. Compositions by various contemporary academical music composers were recorded in this album by “Prism Quartet”. “Prism Quartet” is an ensemble which members are four saxophonists – it’s Timothy McAllister, Taimur Sulivan, Matthew Levy and Zachary Shemon. This quartet performs evocative and bright music for saxophones and since 20 years of its musical activity had became one of the most famous saxophone quartets in academical music scene. Quartet received many awards – Pulitzer Prize for Music, Grawemeyer Award, Rome Prize, Grammy Award, Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, Charles Ives Living Award and Goddard Lieberson Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center Friedheim Award and many others. The ensemble also performs the music written by the interesting and famous contemporary music composers.

This album compositions were written by famous 20th century and contemporary academical music composers – Lee Hyla, John Adams, David Rakowski, Bernard Rands, Yi Chen and Augusta Reed Thomas. All these composers musical language is very interesting and full of inventive musical decisions. Vivacious, live, sometimes even – turbulent and provocative – sound is always constaly changing in all ways of musical language. The basic elements of European academical music are gently combined together with North America music, Asia countries ethnic music melodic, rhythmic and harmonic intonations, afroamerican music rhythms and many other music styles and genres. The composers creatively and inventively try out many different musical expressions, ways of playing, extended, innovative and colorful instrumentation decisions, expressive and creative musical experiments, use different styles and manners of playing. Their music is based on difficult and evocative musical language, polyphonic musical pattern, the synthesis between Europe, Asia and other world continents music elements. Composers write various kinds of music – all of them are composing pieces for solo instruments, compositions for chamber ensembles, string quartets, symphony orchestras and frequently use unusual combinations of the instruments. Another one very important element of their music is electronics – all these composers use electronics along with acoustic instruments – it’s more or less is heard intheir compositions – mostly electronics are used as a colouristic or background element. Dissonance and sharp harmony, various kinds and types of different composing techniques – traditional ones from 20th century music are mixed with experimental music and academic avant-garde composing techniques and unique elements of composers musical language. Each of them are interesting, active and evocative member of contemporary academical music scene. This album compositions were composed for saxophone quartet and were marvelously recorded by “Prism Quartet” musicians.

Album music demonstrates the main elements of each composer composing style and musical language. Lee Hyla “Paradigm Lost”, John Adams “”Fearful Symmetries”, David Rakowski “Compass”, Bernard Rands “Memo 6b “Prism””, Yi Chen “Not Alone” and Augusta Reed Thomas “Squeeze” were recorded in this album. All these compositions are based on innovative and interesting musical decisions, sound experiments, extended playing techniques, gorgeous, shocking and fascinating instrumentation and evocative musical language. Evocative, bright, vivacious and energetic sound is the main element of all this album compositions. Colorful and dissonance harmony brings dramatic and expresionistic sound and is gently mixed together with consonance chords which also are heard in these compositions. Consonance chords make an effort to soft, calm and relaxing sound. The masterful ability to combine together absolutely different music styles, expressions, playing techniques, composing methodes and other elements is demonstrated in all composers compositions. They combine together many different and contrastic music episodes- bright, evocative and especially expressive melodies, dynamic and active rhythmic, gorgeous and wiold speedy solos of saxophones suddenly turns out to shocking, turbulent and fascinating pieces with dramatic solos or leads to very peaceful, soft and restful pieces with static rhythmic, consonance harmony and homophonic structure. This wide range of absolutely different characters, moods and musical expressions is the main element of all compositions. It makes whole sound of all compositions to be even more interesting, turbulent, gorgeous, evocative and dynamic. The colorful, dynamic and innovative instrumentation is full shocking and fascinating instrumentation decisions, extended playing techniques, special sound effects, unusual noises, weird timbres and effective background. Composers mix and use many different playing techniques masterfully and professionally – their music is always constantly changing and have many different elements combined in one place. Evocative and bright musical language, interesting and fascinating musical decisions create original and innovative music for saxophone quartet.

6 thoughts on “Prism Quartet – “Paradigm Lost” (XAS Records, 2017)”

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