Violin Twofer: Stefano Pastor & Mark Feldman
The liner notes for Chants describe the record as being "a dialogue of Stefano Pastor with the other part of himself, a confrontation with his shadow." Shadow selves are no strangers to creative endeavors and popular music has recently seen a recent surge in alter egos, but string-player Stefano Pastor's dual identities reveal very real potential conflicts resolved in the most organic way. He is a classically trained violinist who has worked hard to incorporate elements of black music seamlessly into his pieces; it sounds effortless but it has been in fact a laborious road to "exalt...thickness of timbre without sacrificing the sound's beauty"
The pieces are not only technically elegant but also viscerally moving. "Dança de solidão" is moving in the most obvious way, striking the heart and the hips with equal vigor. It's a Portuguese song with Latin flair anchored by a firm, if generous, control of melody. Ellington's classic "Caravan" is a clear representation of the classic turned upon its head; Pastor's take is relaxed gone rouge. It is casually sensual but reaches some frenetic points.
Surreptitious frenetic points are the building blocks for Mark Feldman's Music for Violin Alone, a showcase for the dexterity and versatility of this ambitious and often lovely record. "Calista" is a study in longing and understated power; you can't hear the violin immediately so by the time you do, the backdrop is pleasingly open. Halfway through, the violin morphs into a more animalistic instrument, scrambling to get its notes out. There's more of the same in "Fantasy for the Violin," where the understated quality of the track's unraveling makes it impossible for louder, faster, more sensual notes not to surprise the listener; the bridge is so sonically detailed and aesthetically devoted that it sounds almost cinematic. The whole record is dedicated to the solo violin and the attention is well-deserved, Feldman's playing easily keeping the listener enraptured.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Naima; I'll Remember April; Chi mi Ha Insegnato; Caravan; Easy Living; The Song is You; La Chambre; Fortytude; There is no Greater Love; Dança de solidão.
Personnel: Stefano Pastor: violin, vocals, viola, mandolin, guitars, percussion.
Music for Violin Alone
Etude; Jete; Calista; Sul G; Molly; Caprice; Fantasy for the Violin; Elegy; Stalker; The Tri Five; 4 Spiker.
Personnel: Mark Feldman: solo violin.