Gramophone Magazine
US Reviews

'Chamber Music for the Inner Ear'
Called Out Ol' Texas. Come Spring!
R. Sonar Como Una Tromba Larga.
Sonata for the Inner Ear
Manhattan Brass Quintet (Kevin Cobb, Wayne duMaine tpts Gregory Evans hn Michael Seltzer trmb Stephen Foreman tub)
with guest musicians
CD imageKitty Brazelton is a composer for whom few of the old categories easily apply. She's a breed that Frank J Oteri calls in his liner notes 'post-postminimalist', meaning that broad stylistic juxtapositions that marked composers in the 1990s are no longer used merely for shock value but as part of a single, enriched sonic palette. Taken to its logical conclusion, that means musical invention is on the wane; what matters now is personal expression, tempered only in limited degrees by the musical forces at hand.
Which is, in short, why Brazelton's brass quintet Come Spring! manages to evoke modernist melodic contours and an R&B horn section at the same time. Or why Sonar Como Una Tromba Larga for solo trombone and tape comes out as a kind of microtonal salsa. The blend of composition and improvisation that Brazelton paints on a small canvas in Called Out Ol' Texas (an anagram for 'alto sax-cello duet'), is expanded in both personnel and duration in Sonata for the Inner Ear, her most squarely modernist piece as well as the most freely allusive to pop sonorities.
The effectiveness of such music depends not only on the composer's writing but in the player's performance, and Brazelton seems uniformly blessed with musicians as stylistically omnivorous as she. A piece like R, which began as a rock tune, took on new life as a chamber work with reduced instrumentation before the current version, with its added bass and wordless vocal line.
All composers are the sum of theor listening experience, and Brazelton seems particularly free in drawing from her own. Few composers are as uninhibited in saying exactly what they want to say, whether it sounds 'right' or not. A ride with Brazelton will be bumpy, but it's a trip you're not likely to forget.    Ken Smith
July 2002

related links:

"Chamber Music for the Inner Ear"

Other CDs by Kitty Brazelton

CRI (Composers Recordings Inc.)

Kitty Brazelton, composer

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