Michel Lambert began working on the music on Le Passant (The Wanderer) in 1992. Time, however, brought about changes. He reduced his original symphonic work to its current instrumentation. He calls it a meeting of the two forces and a confrontation between music that is through-composed and freely improvised. The latter is seen in complete detail on the last seven pieces, which are improv-based. The first five (together comprising "Le Passant") have the improvisers and the orchestra meeting and finding their means of expression together.
The improvisations are stimulating. A constant friction sets off sparks, skittering drum lines give vent to the roiling atmosphere, and quick accents flex the rhythm, a trait that bassist Dominic Duval also voices as he bows in rapid accelerations. Tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin expands the dimensions in constant billow, his ideas shifting and shading the fabric.
Interaction and reaction mark the orchestrated work. Eskelin opens the symphonic suite with "Mirror of Truth, a composed passage with Lambert that he takes on a journey triggered by his mind. Lambert swirls a rush of cymballic accents, heralding a two-tone progression. The straight path of the strings is convoluted, the dynamics shifting constantly, all of which finds final solace in the heavenly arch of strings that are filled with the blessing of classical music. Violinist Malcolm Goldstein works the textural motifs on "Labyrinth of Remorse, a segment of the orchestral work that kicks the pace into high gear as the tenor sax pushes the pulse. But as the composition would have it, calm descends as Duval plays a quiet interlude that nevertheless is fulsome in its sense of adventure.
Lambert filters the power of his orchestrations and lets the improvisers find their own space to dwell. They do, making this wanderer an often times startling one.
Mirror of Truth: Eternal Errant; Labyrinth of Remorse: Spiritual Shock; Pilgrimage of
Humankind; Running in the Cave; Quib; Extracting Lines; Pretend Make-Believe; Ruffians,
Riffraff and Ruffs; Lost Passengers; Cue 9-3, Recalling the Wanderer.