The disc begins with David Claman’s gone for foreign- a flashy, exuberant suite in five movements, which draw from an Indian-inflected quasi-rock idiom. William Anderson’s A Giddy Thing for mandolin and pre-recorded midi plucked sounds takes its inspiration from a comment at the end of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. The Japanese/American composer Akemi Naito’s Mindscape integrates the experimental with the conventional: sensuous melodies co-exist side by side with multiphonics; conventional notation sits alongside graphically notated music. Throughout, Naito’s sensitive and poetic ear shapes the musical flow. Rolv Yttrehus’s Plectrum Spectrum is a tour de force of rhythmic energy, using Cygnus’s full complement of plucked instruments- mandolin, banjo and guitars. Milton Babbitt’s beautiful Swan Song No. 1 is remarkable for its relaxed and transparent instrumental interplay- the full ensemble rarely playing at the same time, the flow of the music, inexorable. All of the pieces on this recording were composed for Cygnus.
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