published: 27 /
Format: CD Box
Challenging and diverse double CD/one DVD rarities offering from Japanese modern classical composer Izumi Kuremoto
'Late Chrysanthemums' is a set of unreleased compositions by New York-based Japanese modern classical composer Izumi Kuremoto covering a period between 1993 and 2012. Presented in a beautiful fold out jewel case the material is split into two CDs and a 5.1 surround DVD. The two tracks on each disc reveal an impressive soundscape of stunning vision and variation.
The title track is the final offering on disc two and features Eric Phinney on vibraphone and Ellen Gronningen on violin. This fascinating combination is gentle and fragile and the interplay between the musicians is peerless, drawing the listener into a state of stillness and attention. The music burns slowly carefully weaving an intricate spell before vaporising into the air like smoke. It is true perfection.
Disc one begins aptly with 'Opening'. The wonder of listening to music you are unfamiliar with is the unknown. Modern classical can be “challenging” and here Kuremoto’s playful intelligence and creativity is in full view. 'Opening' is diverse and epic in vision, full of twists and turns. The introduction of soprano Judith McIntyre is an unexpected surprise and quite disconcerting on first listen. The composition as a whole is captivating and mysterious.
'Venus' follows. Featuring Ellen Gronnigen on solo violin the listener is invited into an experimental and otherworldly ambience. Recorded in 1996 'Venus' shimmers and glistens like stars in a clear winter sky that allows the listener time and space to immerse themselves in the sheer elegance of the work.
Izumi Kuremoto seems to draw from many different influences while leaning towards creating reflective moments and settings. The second disc starts with 'Three Movements for Harp and Strings', a captivating journey into another place. Light and airy, the musical interplay is intriguing and encapsulating. The instruments ebb and flow with a playful feel. Arpeggios sparkle like diamonds and the harp brings that special sense of otherworldliness to the composition which is a delightful listen.
'Late Chrysanthemums' is infused with an atmosphere of reflection and melancholy that is totally captivating, which is occasionally challenging but also very satisfying.
A word about the D.V.D. surround mix. I have a pretty decent Hi-Fi set up that brings the best out of my albums but I have to say the 5.1. mix here offers a whole new dimension to the two featured tracks 'Opening' and 'Venus'. The mix is wide and spacious allowing the music to really flex its muscles. The soprano vocal on the CD mix appears very strong. Here the vocals finds a less aggressive place and become an essential component in the arrangement. 'Venus' is a revelation of simplicity and beauty. Both tracks come with stunning visuals.
'Late Chrysanthemums' is a triumph of modern art.
First Movement - Three Movements for Harp and Strings
Second Movement - Three Movements for Harp and Strings
Third Movement - Three Movements for Harp and Strings
Exposition - Late Chrysanthemums
Vibraphone Solo - Late Chrysanthemums
Epilogue - Late Chrysanthemums