By Carlos Cordeiro, Dylan Mattingly, Eric Klein, Evan Honse, Fanny Wyrick-Flax, Finnegan Shanahan, John Henderson, Josh Henderson, Ju Young Lee Marilu Donovan, Matt Evans, Nathan Koci, Paul Kerekes, Remy Taghavi, Sarah Haines, Sean Statser, and Stuart Breczinski. By Eric Klein. Classical. CD. Navona Records #NV6136. Published by Navona Records (NX.NV6136).
Composer Eric Klein immediately engages the listener with the mysteriousness of "Nettles," a quartet for piano, violin, cello, and clarinet. This track's rhythmic dexterity hints at Klein's background as a film/media composer, foreshadowing the complexity of the dark, ethnographic "Myth of Tomorrow," an exploration of the keyboard percussion instruments and the distinctive aspects of the harp. The first movement of the energetic "Hoboken Suite" transpires when flute and free-bass accordion engage in a battle of sonorities, highlighted by the warm depth of strings and bass clarinet woodwinds. It is a cliffhanger with no resolve, and still none is given even in the haunting opening of Movement II, when the tempo is dramatically cut in half. In the similar realm is the rhapsodic "Dream Fragments" a sonata for piano--each hand, at times, so independent one might wonder if two pianos are in effect. "1899" is a pensive survey of the Americana themes of Klein's predecessors directed by the reminiscent harmonies of the atmospheric woodwinds and vibraphones that have been catalysts for the album so far. Following is "Parallels," a "tonal and atonal hybrid," a play on anxiety and confusion. Perhaps the most unexpected gem of this incredible album is the guitar duet "Four Journeys." There is a subtle dance with modal mixture, providing exquisite chord progressions and arrival points reminiscent of the sweetest of Renaissance madrigals. When the dust settles, it is with a startling jolt."Hidden Places" is the icing on the cleverly syncopated cake. Klein's work is smart and sophisticated, accessible even to the untrained ear, and a cool, clever blend of things both old and new.