The Nashville-based Cristina Spinei (born in Connecticut in 1984) writes music which pulses with the rhythmic energy of the American minimalist tradition – ‘pulling a lot out of only a little material’, as one reviewer put it. Small wonder, then, that she is much in demand with choreographers, and this album presents music written for dance: four string quartets, a duo for cello and percussion and a work for string orchestra – all of them gently mesmeric, like some kind of unhurried ritual.
Voxare String Quartet Pala Garcia and Joan Plana, violins Amanda Verner, viola Aleisha Verner, cello Sari De Leon Reist, cello Colleen Phelps, percussion
Catalogue No: TOCC0371EAN/UPC: 5060113443717Release Date: 01.07.2016Composer: Cristina Spinei Artists: Aleisha Verner, Amanda Verner, Colleen Phelps, Joan Plana, Pala Garcia, Sari De Leon Reist, Voxare String Quartet
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James H. North :
“The six works on this disc (all written between 2009 and 2013) could have been—or perhaps are—presented in an order designed to bring non-believers into the fold. They certainly captured me. The pulsation of Minimalism is ever apparent, as are some of its less obvious tricks, such as composing in series of loops. … Interest escalates with Perspectives, which is still Minimalism but includes more traditional interactions among the four instruments. It is recognizably a member of the string quartet tradition. Spinei’s Clock is the famous one in Grand Central Terminal, where she often waited for her sister’s train, standing still and observing the choreography of the rush-hour crowds. … Some Breaking moves farther from Minimalism and even closer to the string quartet. Spinei’s music is tonal and now lyrical—and includes some stunning contrapuntal passages. … Bootleg Sugar Lips (she explains the title) adds excitement to the mix, opening with a series of ostinatos among the strings that become ever wilder. … Steve Reich might be proud to have created these 16 minutes; even Janáček comes to mind. Then comes a change of heart: Synched is a string orchestra piece in the manner of Vaughan Williams’s Tallis Fantasy: grave yet light, sweet but never saccharine. The young musicians (and veteran conductor) all do yeoman’s service for Spinei’s music, and Toccata Classics’ recorded sound is intimate and effective. Is the progression of interest due merely to becoming comfortable with Spinei’s idiom? No: Repeat hearings in different orders confirm our feelings for and evaluations of the six works. Cristina Spinei is a composer worth getting to know, perhaps to treasure. Although not presented in chronological order, this music suggests a great talent feeling its way and beginning to find it; we hope she continues to develop.” —Fanfare Magazine, January/February 2017
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