1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I must first admit that I'm not that familiar with the music of Jay Reise. From this one CD, Reise writes in a chromatic, but also energetic style that doesn't come off as "twelve-tone". The first work, "Across the Horizons", happens to use the same instrumentation as Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time", namely violin, clarinet, cello and piano. However, Reise doesn't remark on the coincidence in his liner notes, and in any case, he clearly wrote his work under much less fraught circumstances than Messiaen. It comes across as divertimento-like and generally positive in spirit, although the mood turns more melancholy in the middle movement, "Lo Haze".
The second work, "Open Night", is the most ear-tickling on the CD, given the diversity of instrumentation, including the presence of percussion. The third composition, the string quartet "Memory Refrains", has the saddest circumstances behind it, as Reise composed it in memory of Anna Cholakian, the founding cellist of the quartet featured on this recording, the Cassatt Quartet. However, Reise does end the quartet with an energetic finale, rather than any sense of mourning. All of the performances by the different musicians in each work are very fine and serve the music well. Overall, a good introduction to Reise's music.