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Vrebalov’s powerful multimedia score highlights Kronos Quartet concert

Vrebalov’s powerful multimedia score highlights Kronos Quartet concert

March 12, 2015
National

"...More generalities awaited in Dear Creator, help us return to the centre of our hearts, the second world premiere of the evening. Derek Charke’s thirty-minute quartet is, at its base, a study in textures. It’s not a piece that gets tiresome, exactly–it’s infinitely agreeable, much in the way that it doesn’t take much convincing to stay in a hot bath for a half-hour. But the piece is not particularly challenging, and its endlessly cyclical progression quickly grows predictable–hardly what one is looking for in a world premiere.

Charke was inspired by visits to the oil sands of Canada and their surrounding communities. This explains the titles he gives to various sections (“Upgrade to CO2,” “Respect Mother Earth,” “Bitumen Night Shift”) as well as the extended track of recorded industrial and natural sounds: Jackhammers, buzz saws, back-up alarms, and seagulls accompany the quartet for most of the piece’s duration.

Or rather, the quartet seems to accompany the noise track, which is often a problem when composers mix media in this way. It didn’t exactly feel as though the musicians were worried about keeping time with the track, and yet the apparently equal weight of the live and recorded elements made the whole feel static.."

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Related Composers: Derek Charke