356

Jessica Pavone: Songs of Synastry and Solitude

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Jessica Pavone: Songs of Synastry and Solitude Violist and composer Jessica Pavone has been a fixture on the New York scene for over a decade. Her work alongside Randy Brecker, Mary Halvorson and Taylor Ho Bynum has been well documented, revealing her skills as an inventive interpreter and improviser. Her own writing, on the other hand, has only been selectively recorded, and is often shared with collaborators like Halvorson and released on small independent labels.

Songs of Synastry and Solitude is Pavone's highest profile release as a composer to date, demonstrating her flair as a lyrical writer and supple orchestrator. Featuring four members of the Toomai String Quintet, Pavone arranges eleven engaging miniatures for an unconventional string quartet of violin, viola, cello and double bass, embracing the widest range of tonalities the format affords.

Influenced in part by Leonard Cohen's Songs of Love and Hate (Columbia, 1970), many of these tuneful pieces were inspired by folk, gospel, and soul, rather than traditional Western classical forms. Eschewing the atonal dissonances championed by the serialists, Pavone instead embraces time-honored string quartet techniques to render these compact meditations—including counterpoint, syncopation, equal interplay, unison themes, octave leaps and rubato tempos. Though inspired by folk music, these pieces still bear the influence of classical forms, especially the innovations of the Romantic composers—more so than traditional blues, jazz or rock structures.

The lush harmonies of "Here And Now, Then And Gone" and the understated counterpoint of "Darling Options" summon emotional resonance worthy of the Romantic era, while the austere chorale sensibility of "It's Come To This" conjures a spiritual air reminiscent of Arvo Part's hypnotic post-minimalism. The subtle double- stops of "Once Again," the languid waltz-time of "There's No Way To Say," and the sweeping legato melody of "Waiting Room" are indicative of the album as a whole, offering stately ruminations with concise economy. Only "Ruala" and "Hope Dawson Is Missing" flirt with harsh angles and thorny intervals, enriching their underlying drama with subtle dissonances akin to Beethoven's late period string quartets.

A straightforward contemplation on the power of song, Songs of Synastry and Solitude is a timeless collection of elegant themes from a young composer of significant merit.


Track Listing: Here And Now, Then And Gone; Darling Options; Once Again; There's No Way To Say; Housework; It's Come To This; Ruala; Waiting Room; Wednesday's Rules; The Harbinger; Hope Dawson Is Missing.

Personnel: Amie Weiss: violin; Erin Wight: viola; John Popham: cello; Andrew Roitstein: double-bass.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Tzadik | Style: Classical


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Ignacio" CD/LP/Track Review Ignacio
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Layers" CD/LP/Track Review Layers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "Shapes" CD/LP/Track Review Shapes
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "The Outlier" CD/LP/Track Review The Outlier
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Earprint" CD/LP/Track Review Earprint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 14, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!