Meyer’s fierce-edged playing activated the Tank’s awe-inspiring properties.
Most notable of all, though, is Meyer’s bravura playing…..is by turns fierce and lyrical.
Meyer, the ensemble’s violist, began composing five years ago, and in those five years has established herself as a powerful force in contemporary classical music: her recently released second album, Ring Out, debuted at #1 on the Billboard traditional classical charts. The album’s visceral compositions, which employ a broad palette of techniques and a variety of ensemble configurations, were brought to life onstage by counter)induction’s zeal.
In each of Jessica Meyer’s differently configured works from the last five years, knife-edge anticipation opens on to unexpected, often ecstatic musical realms, always with a personal touch and imaginatively written for the instruments.
The New York-based artist infuses her first composer-portrait album with a fierce, impassioned attack; in doing so, she no doubt inspired those joining her to do the same…contrasts of dynamics, tempo, and texture are exploited plentifully, the music alternating rapidly between elegiac and raw.
…I was also struck by ‘Through Which We Flow,’ a new 15-minute work for strings by Jessica Meyer, a Novus violist. Its departure point was the lovely sound of works like the Dvorak and Tchaikovsky serenades, which Ms. Meyer quickly complicated, by dividing and redividing lines, and roughed up with astringent effects, like a creaking and croaking among the double basses midway through, which was then offset by squealing violins.
…you were swept quickly into the work’s sound world, a rich, constantly changing fabric. The violist-composer’s score was thoroughly democratic in the best chamber music tradition, with the cello often contributing high-lying, sweetly lyrical themes, and each instrument supplying a healthy measure of drama.
Meyer exhibits the ability to execute beautifully-disciplined technical mastery, soaring into the stratosphere of the high strings, forging hand crafted, wrought iron machinery like a blacksmith.
Meyer has made a name for herself with her intricate, solo loopmusic, its intertwining themes and atmospheric electronic effects. That influence was apparent in the work’s subtle thematic shifts, intricately circular motives and rhythmic persistence, not unlike Julia Wolfe. But freed from the confines of the loop pedal, Meyer’s mini-suite flowed carefully and methodically from rapt, mantra-like permutations, through grim insistence to a peacefully hypnotic ending. All this demanded plenty of extended plucking and percussive technique, and the ensemble rose to the challenge. It’s the best thing Meyer’s ever written: there isn’t a string orchestra on the planet that wouldn’t have a field day playing this.
The featured work of the program was the commissioned new composition by Jessica Meyer, one small part of which was presented in a Jordan Hall concert that Lorelei offered with the string ensemble A Far Cry about a year ago. The sample was intriguing, but the entire work was especially enthralling.
This bears the imprint of a master, well versed in musical art and thoroughly in tune (no pun intended) with symphonic literature, thanks no doubt to her many other smaller-scale pieces…skillfully set to utilize the broad palette of color and textural possibilities offered by a contemporary orchestra. The score’s several sections flow logically from one to the next, and toward the end the piece builds to an impressive – and impressively managed – climax before diminishing to a calm and reflective close…
‘Forgiveness’ for bass clarinet and loop pedal, by Jessica Meyer…made the strongest impact. In this work, the loop pedal records and repeats sounds from both the musician and his instrument, resulting here in an evocative dialogue. Mr. Fingland’s deep breaths and sighs became a backdrop for long, sustained notes, the plaintive clarinet utterances unfolding over what sounded like a chorus of gentle sobs. The klezmer-tinged line increased to what seemed like a frantic plea for forgiveness — a multilayered journey through grief, anger and catharsis.
Meyer is a talented composer….reaching for something new and unknown.
A world premiere of “The Last Rose,” by Jessica Meyer (b. 1974) who was in the audience, reached one of the evening’s high points. The fearless doubler, soprano/cellist Sarah Brailey made of it something truly affecting. Its text, “Tis the Last Rose of Summer,” by Thomas Merton, was illustrated cleverly by the cello.
A world-premiere ensued; how many times do you encounter that at an art song recital?… Ms. Meyer uses both extended and traditional techniques in her music, drawing on her years of experience as a professional violist. The most haunting of these, for me, was her gentle drumming on her instrument…
The pieces were colorful, and the contemporary twists of music with Shakespeare’s words showed their timelessness.
The loop pedal allows her to multiply her gorgeous, expressive tone, and the delicately layered textures blend to create an ambient one-woman orchestra. Throughout the album, her viola paints beautiful soundscapes of surprisingly varied colors and timbres.
An intriguingly vivid new solo electroacoustic album…Meyer often creates the effect of a one-woman orchestra…
Meyer’s album is a true contribution to the repertoire of programmatic music, providing a soundscape to the abstract musings we experience every day…Just as the human psyche is prone to conflict, chaos, and occasional harmony, its musical representation, envisioned by Meyer, is a resounding potpourri of styles.
…two of the festival’s most alluring programs are recitals by string players who also compose.
Mr. Boyce composed “Deixo | Sonata” (2009) for the ensemble’s violist Jessica Meyer… Ms. Meyer and Mr. Beck played the piece with the kind of polish, focus and excitement that you would expect in a firmly settled repertory piece.
Jessica Meyer… gave a focused, beautifully centered account of Krzysztof Penderecki’s unaccompanied Cadenza.
Violist Jessica Meyer…brought out the colourful palette and visceral energy of Moto Osada’s Kaguyama Dance.