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Audio CD, November 18, 2009
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Metamorphosis by Joan Jeanrenaud

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 18, 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: New Albion Records
  • Run Time: 63 minutes
  • ASIN: B00006JYA4
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,282 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Joan Jeanrenaud, cello New Albion,
The title of cellist Joan Jeanrenaud's gripping new solo CD makes a passing reference to a noodly Philip Glass opus that shows up late in the proceedings. But the title's force comes from the sense of Jeanrenaud's transformation, after two decades with the Kronos Quartet, into a distinctive and brilliantly provocative solo artist.
The six works included here are written for Jeanrenaud's cello, alone and in various taped or computer-processed combinations. Yet there's a wonderful robustness about the entire project, embodied in both the tonal richness of Jeanrenaud's playing and the artful, probing nature of most of the music.
Jeanrenaud's sheer technical virtuosity is what a listener notices first -- the full-voiced beauty of her string tone, her melodic fluency, her rock- steady rhythmic control. Even amid the sometimes obscuring mist of electronic manipulation there is always the presence of that forthright musical voice.
Just as exciting are the works themselves, which for all their variety sound very much of a piece. In contrast to the exciting but sometimes bewildering eclecticism of the Kronos repertoire, Jeanrenaud seems intent on exploring a single vein of highly stylized, semi-improvised monologue that builds on relatively simple harmonies to create far-reaching textures.
And although Jeanrenaud is credited as composer on only one work, the haunting "Altar Piece," it's clear that all of these pieces -- some of which include opportunities for improvisation -- have been partially shaped by her musical sensibility. From Hamza El Din's beguilingly rhythmic "Escalay" to Karen Tanaka's meditative "The Song of Songs" to Mark Grey's Gothic "Blood Red, " everything is tailored to Jeanrenaud's eloquence and passion, and the results are transfixing.
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