Equalling – and at times superseding – the fabulous richness of his earlier recordings, Hristo Vitchev has probably made his most exquisite and symphonic-sounding music on this disc Of Light and Shadows. Here he is once again joined by pianist Jasnam Daya Singh (if you were on the dark side of the moon that you probably still know the Brasilian musician as Weber Iago, a name he’s since jettisoned), who is a musician most naturally inclined towards Mr. Vitchev’s multi-dimensional music of a myriad of hues.
Mr. Vitchev has now solidified his highly personal canon with new repertoire that, not too long ago, catapulted him to international recognition; music especially rewarding for the high quality of its melodic and harmonic content as well as for its frequently challenging virtuosity. On this repertoire, while many of the extended passages (as on “Prismic Dance” and “Pentachromatic Butterflies”) for the solo protagonists progress in parallel thirds and fifths, there are other highly original passages of great beauty; for instance “The Shortest Wavelength”, where a lyrical melody pursued by one soloist is accompanied by their partner’s restless arpeggios. The musical chemistry between Mr. Vitchev, Mr. Singh and bassist, Dan Robbins and drummer Mike Shannon, is intuitive and gratifying.
Throughout the wonderfully paced music, outer movements sparkle with playful vigour while centrally placed solo movements are poetically declaimed. Some of Mr. Vitchev’s very finest writing for his own instrument is found here, especially in “A Portrait of Love Forgotten”, with its unusual and arresting fantasy for the soloists. Soloists and quartet alike respond to this wonderful music with passion, insight and a feeling for the idiom that emerges as second nature. “Partial Darkness” provides the icing on a delicious cake.
Track list – 1: Of Light and Shadows; 2: The Shortest Wavelength; 3: Selective Absorption; 4: At Your Side; 5: Prelude to Prismic Dance; 6: Prismic Dance; 7: Pentachromatic Butterflies; 8: A Portrait of a Love Forgotten; 9: Partial Darkness
Personnel – Hristo Vitchev: guitar; Jasnam Daya Singh: piano; Dan Robbins: bass; Mike Shannon: drums
Released – 2018
Label – First Orbit Sounds
Runtime – 1:14:37