Brahms: Symphony No. 3; Serenade No. 2. Iván Fischer, Budapest Festival Orchestra. Channel Classics CCS SA 43821.
Glass-Sandresky: Strange Energies. Sandresky: Flowing Water Encounters Obstacles; Nor'easter; What's Left; Fear; Force; Waves; Laughter. Glass: Etudes Nos. 2, 9, 12, 16.
Eleonor Sandresky, piano. Orange Mountain Music OMM 7019.
here). This time around, however, what we have is not a straightforward recital by Ólafsson of music by Debussy and Rameau, but rather some cuts featuring Ólafsson on the piano along with a variety of other musicians and sonorities. Ólafsson says of his aims in putting this project together: "I wanted to explore certain works from fresh perspectives, to reimagine them and invite other composers to rework elements of these extraordinary pieces... In addition to my own new recordings and material, this album features wonderful artists from different directions who have used my recordings from the Debussy-Rameau album as material for their own highly original works. They have opened my ears to new, fascinating paths and for that I am immensely grateful." Those new paths and sounds include the use of some electronic manipulation of sounds, synthesizers, guitars, percussion - this might sound quite daunting, but overall, the sounds produced are quite tasteful. The most jarring sound to my ears was the inclusion of a human voice on one cut. The sound of the voice was not in itself jarring, it was just unexpected on what is otherwise an instrumental album. Still, the best cuts on the albums were those featuring Ólafsson on the piano, of which fortunately there are quite a few, the most amazing of which is Track 8, titled Reflection, which is an improvisation on Debussy's Bruyères, the piece with which Ólafsson also opens and closes the album. The only fly in the ointment is the recorded sound, as some of the Ólafsson tracks were apparently recorded during pandemic lockdown under less than ideal circumstances and there are some extraneous noises that some listeners might find an unwelcome distraction. The other tracks are just fine. All in all, Reflections is a fascinating and imaginative release.
The Tower and the Garden: Toivo Tulev: A child said, what is the grass?; Gregory Spears: The Tower and the Garden; Joel Puckett: I enter the earth; Donald Nally, The Crossing. Navona NV6303.