AMN Reviews: Daniel Lippel – Mirrored Spaces [New Focus Recordings FCR239]

From guitarist Daniel Lippel comes a two-CD set containing a generous collection of recent work for solo guitarist. On the recording Lippel, a virtuoso specializing in the contemporary repertoire for guitar, plays both nylon string classical guitar and electric guitar, conventionally and with extended technique, with and without electronic augmentation. But no matter the instrumental set-up or the musical setting, Lippel’s performances are characteristically deft and assured.

A dominant theme on Mirrored Spaces is the use of alternative tunings and microtonality. The title work, a six-part suite co-composed by Lippel and Orianna Webb in 2006-2008, draws on quarter-tone tuning. The quarter-tone discrepancies create a wobbly choric effect, giving parts of the suite a strangely unstable feeling. Other parts sound like more conventional, albeit beautifully adventurous, classical guitar playing.

Ryan Streber’s Descent for scordatura electric guitar and two amplifiers was also a collaborative composition. The piece, which detunes the guitar’s four lowest strings from standard fourths tuning to the cello’s fifths tuning, has as its central trope the subtle incongruity of having an electric guitar played with classical technique. The piece slowly descends from the instrument’s upper to lower registers and in the process dresses it up in an increasingly overdriven, distorted sound.

Other pieces exploring alternative tunings include Christopher Bailey’s Arc of Infinity, a multi-faceted work for guitar and three layers of electronic sounds that uses overtones in standard tuning to create harmonies in Just Intonation, and Lippel’s own Scaffold, which incorporates three guitars using three different tunings.

Extended technique is more-or-less taken for granted on many of these performances, but they come to the fore particularly on From Scratch, a 2017 electroacoustic work by Sergio Kafejian, that envelops its skittering runs and fragmentary phrases in aggressive, percussive gestures, string scraping, snap pizzicato, and plucking behind the bridge.

No brief review can do justice to the rich variety of music in this collection. One can only say: Listen.

Daniel Barbiero

This Week in New York 


Violinist Midori and pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute perform a program of works by living female composers, including Vivian Fung’s Birdsong, a world premiere by Tamar Diesendruck, Sofia Gubaidulina’s Dancer On A Tightrope, Olga Neuwirth’s Quasare/Pulsare, and Franghiz Ali-Zadeh’s Sabil Hayagi.
Monday, November 4 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $25-$40
Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, New York, NY

An intimate evening of new chamber-vocal musical music, this year’s Showcase explores three essential American systems that challenge our cultural climate. Featuring the world premiere of Psychographics, by Kaley Lane Eaton, Song of the RedWood-Tree by Sunny Knable, and the NY Premiere of Portraits of Disquiet by Julia Seeholzer.
Tuesday, November 5 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $10
The National Opera Center, 330 7th Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY

Dublin-born contemporary pianist Isabelle O’Connell takes audiences on an intimate journey into her repertoire of 20th and 21st-century music, including work by Irish composers Bill Whelan, Seóirse Bodley, Jane O’Leary, and Siobhán Cleary.
Thursday, November 7 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $22, $18 members
Irish Arts Center, 553 West 51st Street, New York, NY

Stony Brook University Department of Music presents the 31st annual Premieres! Concert. Created in 1988 by composer John Lessard, pianist Gilbert Kalish, and percussionist Raymond DesRoches, the Premieres Series has been responsible for the creation of over 100 works by a broad spectrum of composers, including Pulitzer, MacArthur, and Guggenheim award winners.
Friday, November 8 at 7:30 PM
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Gapplegate Music Reviews

Source: Gapplegate.

Daniel Lentz, Ending(s), Twilight String Orchestra, Nicholas Deyoe, Fahad Siadat

Pauline Kim Harris, Heroine, Reimagining Bach and Ockeghem

John McCabe Plays Dominico Scarlatti, Muzio Clementi Keyboard Sonatas

Messiaen, L’Ascension, Orchestral Works of the ’30s and ’80s, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, Paavo Jarvi