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Alejandro Rutty - 2012 - "The Conscious Sleepwalker"

(59:45, Navona Records)


1.  A Future of Tango-1 5:28
2.  A Future of Tango-2 7:12
3.  A Future of Tango-3 5:25
4.  The Conscious Sleepwalker 14:03
5.  Hyperlinks-2 2:13
6.  Hyperlinks-1 6:13
7.  Tango Loops-2C 8:36
8.  Tango Loops-1 10:35


Cuarteto de Saxofones 4mil (1-3)
Mayan City Sinfonetta (1-3, 7)
Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (4)
Red Clay Saxophone Quartet (5, 6)
Kiev Philharmonic (8)

Prolusion. Argentinian composer Alejandro RUTTY is currently Associate Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and he's been based in the US for a number of years. As a creator of music his compositional output includes orchestral, chamber and mixed-media music, arrangements of Argentine traditional music and innovative outreach musical projects, this according to descriptions given on his homepage. CDs featuring his material started to appear in 2003, but until Navona Records released "The Conscious Sleepwalker" in 2012 he had not been the subject of a CD consisting solely of his work.

Analysis. A key word when listening through this CD is tango. Rutty is obviously fond of the tango, and there's always some details or sequences within each of the compositions on this album that visit or utilize elements from the tango. More often than not it is the key feature. Other facets of his material worth noting is a strong tendency to alternate between richly and sparsely arranged sequences, as well as alterations in pace and general intensity. Fluctuating wavelike patterns is another aspect, as a permeating feature that stretches well beyond a mere overall intensity detail. The opening trio of compositions, assembled under the heading A Future of Tango, is a triptych that left me somewhat bewildered. Great music, brilliant at times, but whether I should describe it as jazz or classical is the challenge. All three of the parts combine elements from both and explore this dual identity in fairly different manners: exploring challenging and fairly sophisticated territories in the opening part, utilizing slower paces, more sparsely arranged constructions with subtle tension inducing details in the second, and with a pace-filled, jubilant mood dominating the concluding part. The Conscious Sleepwalker is more of a purebred classical symphonic creation, opening with fairly dramatic passages ebbing and flowing in intensity and arrangement details in the earlier phases in a manner that gave me associations towards some of the material of Modest Mussorgsky. This followed by a tango inspired interlude more gentle in character with a steady increase of unsettling elements taking it back towards a more dramatic and compact expression again, with a mood that for some reason or other makes me think about Asian music just as much as classical music fairly well suited to a ball. The two shorter Hyperlinks are linked (sic), the former a jubilant, swirling affair where the instrument performance gives rise to associations of couples jubilantly and elegantly swirling on the dance floor, the latter bookended by the same mood and atmosphere but with an elongated slower paced, longing and melancholic sequence in between. Both of them return to an expression that will be just as familiar to fans of jazz as to fans of classical music, unless I'm much mistaken. Tango Loops 2C continues in a fairly different manner, with surging, melancholic instrument textures as a trademark feature, broken up by occasional joyful tango inserts and dramatic, bombastic sequences of the kind that inspires thoughts about great tragedies to my ears. Tango Loops 1 concludes the CD in a manner somewhat similar to how it opened, with music that merits a description as challenging. On this occasion by way of frequently applying multiple lead motifs without much harmonic interaction, coming together in sparsely arranged intermissions and more bombastic, flamboyant richly layered constructions. Some jazz-oriented details and tango inspired individual instrument motifs present also on this occasion.

Conclusion. As a novice in terms of what is generally described as classical music, chances are that I'm a tad more easily impressed by this kind of music than those who have a deeper knowledge. I found the works of Alejandro Rutty present on this disc to be generally engaging and fairly often brilliant. As far as a key audience is concerned, I'd suspect that those who have a distinct affection for the tango combined with a taste for classical symphonic music and jazz will most likely find this CD to be an intriguing and enjoyable experience.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: October 15, 2013
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Navona Records
Alejandro Rutty


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