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Common Ground

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Audio CD, August 22, 2006
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Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. MetamorphosisMargaret Batjer10:59Album Only
listen  2. Common Ground: Blues Upside DownJudith Farmer 4:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Common Ground: Trading PlacesJudith Farmer 4:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Common Ground: Igor, At LastJudith Farmer 2:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Jazz & CocktailsTereza Stanislav12:14Album Only
listen  6. Dual IdentityJudith Farmer 4:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Thin Air: Mountain GoatMargaret Batjer 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Thin Air: TwilightMargaret Batjer 4:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Thin Air: PawsMargaret Batjer 4:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Night ShiftDelores Stevens 8:09$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 22, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Albany Records
  • ASIN: B000GW8RSO
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #907,107 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 30, 2006
Format: Audio CD
George Balanchine used the phrase 'the most extraordinary encounters and events' to describe his dances, and that phrase came to mind again and again as I listened (again and again) to this CD of chamber music by a composer previously unknown to me, the Austro-American Gernot Wolfgang (b.1957 in Bad Gastein). Wolfgang is himself a jazz guitarist -- but there is no guitar among the instruments featured here -- whose background is clearly discernible in his music, largely because so much of the music is, in his words, 'groove-based.' Using ostinato jazz-tinged rhythms (which, however, he varies and extends to create interest and surprise) Wolfgang creates polytonal, polyphonic music of the highest degree of unpredictability even though with close listening one can pick out melodic and harmonic patterns that are not immediately obvious or ever merely mundane. He frequently uses synthetic scales, as well as the usual major/minor and chromatic/diatonic scales; harmonies and melodies are thus often not immediately predictable or conventionally beautiful. Throughout one has the sense that the music is dancing. It has a logic and beauty all its own with closer listening and I found myself utterly beguiled.

'Metamorphosis' for violin, viola and piano is based on an initial violin figure which is then taken through continuous variations in a fresh harmonic and rhythmic style that partakes of such things as polytonalism, Hindemithian counterpoint, bop, and free improvisation.

'Common Ground' for bassoon and cello (probably my favorite of all the works here) is in three movements. 'Blues Upside Down' presents an upbeat blues figure which is then, midway, turned upside down and given a different character.
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This is a highly intelligent type of contemporary chamber music and interesting and pleasing all at once. It is never predictable and always fresh. Some of it strikes me as polyphonic music with its roots at San Marco in Venice, yet it has wandered far. Other pieces are vexingly linear in their solos. There are jazz and salsa elements mixed up with say Stravinsky. And it all has personality and a story to tell. In fact, some of the pieces are derived from actual stories.
I liked 'Dual Identity' best. It is for solo bassoon and full of unforced humor and good spirits and is wonderfully performed.
'Night Shift' for solo piano is another delight. There is a jazzy lullaby that turns into a dream.
'Common Ground' is for the unlikely combination of bassoon and cello. It is a cerebral delight. For visualization of the musical combination you may consult Degas' painting of a view into an orchestra section with the two instruments nicely in the foreground, although, let's say, the cello has grown a little too large.
I have come to use the pieces as mind builders when exercising similar say to classical music or a Poulenc.
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