ANTOINE CHESSEX – Selected Chamber Music Works 2009-2013

Tochnit Aleph

Personnel for each track to be found here.

Chessex is unquestionably becoming a competent composer, turning the impulsive fierceness of his earlier expressions into a type of harmonically severe symbolism nourished by aeriform reductivism and non-indulgent researching of the (meta)physical properties in a given instrumental aggregation. The four episodes comprised by this CD are varying in length, explorative trajectories and acoustic extent; all of them are consistently superb and utterly adrenalizing. The longest, and genuinely splendid “Metakatharsis” is largely supported by held tones (hair-bristling clusters alert), various degrees of piano activity – including sinister rumbles – and taped deformations. An assortment of dynamics that retains a sense of portentous enigma throughout, the vertex around 18 minutes in as slowly wavering lines draw magnificent parabolic figurations immersed in bottomless reflectivity. One of “those” enlightening points in time where stopping whatever you’re doing and remaining transfixed is mandatory. The initial “Angst Miniature” utilizes strained string glissandos as fundamental matter; fans of Gloria Coates might appreciate the alarming environment. “Ritournelle Fulgurante” discloses a slightly capricious compound: brief indications of vamps, strong crescendos, consuming tremolos and wakeless resonances keep our alertness alive and stirred up in between quieter, quasi-still stretches. “Schichten” is a worthy closure, sounding like a synthesis of several of the orchestral traits met in the preceding tracks, perhaps with less fervidness (in spite of the ever-dissonant characteristics of the contrapuntal contiguities and the intimidatory thrum of the piano’s lower notes). Overall, an exemplary selection of rigorous scores emphasizing the introspective features of an inescapable astringency. Sentimentality is all but unwanted; in this case, a major plus.

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