This is an exemplary collection of some of the most beautiful music written by bassist Kent Carter. The bassist cites his collaboration with Steve Lacy whose late period included work that combined music and poetry. However, on Oratorios and Songs Carter adds the interesting dimension of distinctly curvilinear musical architecture a shape brilliantly rendered by the intricate melismatic creations of mezzo Laura Tejeda Martin, with the trombone of Christiane Bopp and the string trio including Albrecht Maurer (violin) and Katrin Mickiewicz (viola) and, of course Carter. The bassist navigates his way through his music with characteristic mastery and also urges his musicians onward. They, in turn, have a commanding way with this extraordinary repertoire which leads the listener to discover the full range of the physical beauty in the ensemble framing of the eight pieces on this disc.
It is a greater challenge to merge the dimension of size and intimacy that ‘Cluster Ringing’ suggests and which truly compelling performances require. Together the ensemble begins with a miraculous time-stretching phrasing of the opening bars, then is mostly content to lay out precisely the structural lines, applying great amplitude and warmth of phrasing, and letting the music unfold without haste – until, that is, a thrilling upsurge of movement into the chain of trills towards the end. Oratorios and Songs is a spectacular disc – poetic, proud and utterly unforgettable. The music is intricately layered and oscillating, richly expressive often with subterranean bass-lines. ‘Angela’ is a haunting weave of clustered lines; an elegiac portrait echoing celestial realms largely as a result of Laura Tejeda Martin’s rarefied lyricism.
The aura of the music is alternately hushed and urgent while dissonances give way to melodic songfulness. ‘Manhattan Blues’ achieves glowing life through soaring lines and exquisite rhythms. The disc is rounded out with ‘You Know’ a short piece eloquently set and superbly played by the ensemble. Although cast in a mould that is a molten mix of idioms and metaphors Kent Carter brings to this singular music a brooding lyricism even as it sings in its own dynamic voice. Laura Tejeda Martin caresses and animates every phrase.
Track List: The Beginning; Cluster Ringing; Dumb Delights; The Red Haired Man; Angela; Something for Conny; Manhattan Blues; Can’t Get Up; You Know.
Personnel: Kent Carter: double bass; Christiane Bopp: trombone; Albrecht Maurer: violin; Katrin Mickiewicz: viola (alto); Laura Tejeda Martin: mezzo-soprano.
Label: EMANEM 5042
Running time: 56:24