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In Hinduism, the god Shiva appears in many guises; one of the most powerful is as Nataraja, the cosmic dancer whose dance, "symbolizes the cycles of creation and destruction." Several of the works on this collection of fascinating music by flutist Conor Nelson and pianist Thomas Rosenkranz (colleagues at Bowling Green State University) are oriented around dance, but a dance that is more cathartic and transformational and less communal.

Several of the works on this ambitious release were written for the performers, and it represents an important contribution to the available recorded output of avant garde flute music. The recording opens and closes with works by British composer Jonathan Harvey. Run Before Lightning depicts a close encounter with lightning, and the mixture of exhilaration and fear inherent in that experience. His beguiling Nataraja concludes the recording, and is a nuanced portrait of Shiva as Lord of the Dance. Harvey's Messiaen influenced harmonies provide an exotic background for this mercurial music, as it twists and turns in a search to eradicate illusion and clear the way for insight. Oberlin Conservatory faculty Josh Levineʼs work, Dances vagues, exists at the boundary of dance and abstraction, balancing references to Vareseʼs iconic solo flute work, Density 21.5 and the Sarabande from Bachʼs E minor Lute Suite. Bowling Green faculty Christopher Dietzʼ piece, Kinderspiel (child's play), was inspired by watching play dates between the composerʼs son and a pair of twin girls. The workʼs focus is the subtle dance between children with different temperaments. New York based Sam Pluta's work, "Light and Water" and C.R. Kasprzyk's Archetypes provide the most contemplative music on the disc, each looking at nature as a still-life. Nelson's rendering of Elliott Carter's iconic solo work, Scrivo in Vento, emphasizes the expressive contrasts between frenetic and lyrical that provide the propulsion in the piece.

- Daniel Lippel and Conor Nelson


released October 7, 2014




New Focus Recordings New York, New York

New Focus Recordings is an artist led collective label featuring releases in contemporary music of many stripes, as well as new approaches to older repertoire. The label was founded by guitarist Daniel Lippel (who is the current director), composer engineer Ryan Streber, and composer Peter Gilbert in 2003-4, and features releases from many of new music's most active performers and composers. ... more

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