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‘Tempo’ review for Thomas Simaku’s new album

Posted on 13 July 2021

Simaku’s CD on BIS Records, con-ri-sonanza, has received another excellent review, in the July 2021 issue of the Cambridge University Press magazine Tempo.

The review begins with a challenging remark from the composer himself: ‘‘Life isn’t easy … why should my music be?” 

‘In con-ri-sonanza, an album for piano and string quartet, individually and together Joseph Houston and Quatuor Diotima bridge this implied difficulty admirably, producing genuine and vivid recordings.’

Commenting on Catena I for piano, the reviewer says ‘The unfolding and linking of the compositional process – trying variations, algorithmically expanding musical material – is laid bare in Catena I, which serves as a microcosm for the entire album.’  The reviewer continues:

‘Although Simaku’s scores are laboriously revealing of his vernacular, the resulting music is very human and intuitive. All of the pieces feel through-composed, and Quatuor Diotima especially take care in letting the sound linger for just the right amount of time so that the next section rises out of the harmonic resonance, constructing a continuous experience.

‘The centrepiece of the album, con-ri-sonanza, is an evident meeting of Simaku’s piano and string quartet music. Because Simaku straightforwardly writes piano-like figures for strings, the instruments sonically combine by their serial origins. The intended effect is music arising from one organism and not five instruments. The coordination between Houston and Quatuor Diotima is splendidly showcased, as is the musicians’ skilled mastery of their instruments. Those who love Kurtág and Ligeti will enjoy con-ri-sonanza, a solid album for a mature composer.’

Read the complete review.