Mina Gajić, YuEun Kim, Coleman Itzkoff – Sonic Alchemy (2023)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 01:08:25 minutes | 2,11 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Sono Luminus
How do we even measure time? It is sometimes said that time is as old as humankind, but of course it isn’t. It’s just something we created out of a need for… what exactly? Earliest known evidence suggests we were measuring time already 5000 years ago. That way we could create predictability, for example concerning planting and harvesting. From there on we could more easily schedule and organize, which then helped us building a more sustainable life. When we had found a mutual understanding of what we would call time then other systems could be developed, kind of like a third-party software. Music notation works as a fine example.
Today our life is synchronized “to the beat.” Not only is every single footstep kept track of by our telephones or every breath by our smart wrist watches – even our thoughts are as good as monitored as we scroll casually through advertisements on social media. Without us even realizing, the idea of time and synchronicity is apparently encrypted so deep in our consciousness that the thought of viewing the world without it is beyond our comprehension. That doesn’t change the fact that time as we understand it has not always been the same. Our ideas on time have changed throughout the centuries and will most probably continue to do so. The works on Sonic Alchemy are of composers who offer a new perspective on how we can perceive time, each in their own way.
One might not think of mentioning Mozart in the same breath with minimalist composers Arvo Pärt and Pēteris Vasks, but this program by the trio of violinist YuEun Kim, pianist Mina Gajić, and cellist Coleman Itzkoff reminds the listener that the comparison was suggested by Pärt himself in his fascinating Mozart-Adagio, an elaboration on the slow movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata in F major, K. 280. That work, the only one in which the full trio is heard, is performed on the central track of this Sono Luminus release, and the rest of the program has an almost-arch shape, with works by Vasks and Pärt at the beginning and end, and Mozart’s two well-known minor-key fantasias surrounding the Mozart-Pärt piece. The notes by composer Páll Ragnar Pálsson attempt to connect the program to the idea of the passage of time, and listeners can judge the success of this for themselves. Whatever one’s conclusion, the music hangs in one’s mind. Mozart’s way of expanding harmonic fields in his works is an essential feature of his style. Think of the scene in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus where Salieri marvels at how much he can extract from a single note in the Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major, K. 364. The concept is aided by the iron rhythmic control of the players, especially Kim; sample the final Spiegel im Spiegel of Pärt, which has the unrelieved tension essential to a good Pärt performance. The Sono Luminus label contributes characteristically pristine sound. Put this album on late in a quiet evening, and it will haunt. – James Manheim
01. Mina Gajić, YuEun Kim, Coleman Itzkoff – Vasks: Balta Ainava (White Scenery) (08:27)
02. Mina Gajić, YuEun Kim, Coleman Itzkoff – Pärt: Fratres (11:38)
03. Mina Gajić, YuEun Kim, Coleman Itzkoff – Mozart: Fantasia in D minor, K. 397 (06:00)
04. Mina Gajić, YuEun Kim, Coleman Itzkoff – Pärt: Mozart-Adagio (after Sonata K. 280) (06:33)
05. Mina Gajić, YuEun Kim, Coleman Itzkoff – Mozart: Fantasia in C minor, K. 475 (12:13)
06. Mina Gajić, YuEun Kim, Coleman Itzkoff – Vasks: Castillo Interior (Interior Castle) (13:07)
07. Mina Gajić, YuEun Kim, Coleman Itzkoff – Pärt: Spiegel im Spiegel (10:24)