Here is another recorded performance of improvisations on classical themes, also involving Schumann and his “Traumerei,” this time by the singular saxophone and piano duo of the brothers Oore, Dani and Sageev. The opening number is “Avanti Urania,” Puccini’s lovely melody sounding weirdly klezmer on sax backed by crashing, comic piano chords. The Oores follow fearlessly making Bartok—no stranger to folk music inspirations– sound like a ‘Freilach’ (Yiddish wedding dance), and from there to a superimposed medley of Charles Ives, Alban Berg, Brahms and Schumann, this time approached along jazz lines—shrill alto sax weaving sporadically among spaces of dissonant piano chords—all of considerable difficulty and well executed. Not much lyricism around this part, more a mood of satire, or abstraction, bringing the energy of heavy metal to Brahms, if you can imagine that. Then it all slows down with “Traumerei”—piano in a mellow tone with breathy sax, and into schmaltz with Schubert’s emotionally stressed “Gretchen at the Spinning-wheel; more “Traumerei” but this time bluesy, and developed as a crazy, bebop superimposition on Charles Ives. This adventurous smorgasbord is elaborately structured, its development expanding through the Oore bros’ takes on a restful, lyric bit of Richard Strauss, before broadening into a 35 minute flow through a delta of incantatorial lines that merge into a Hassidic rhapsody. You don’t hear music like this everyday!
SingerSongwriter Sienna Dahlen’s synthy, spacey, new age guitar takes a solo on “Jaded Heart” that leads into her vocal—spiritual overdubbed chanting that evokes the realms of Loreena McKennitt, Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) and K.D Lang. Very pretty, very relaxing. Kept it in the car stereo for a week. There are a couple of obligatory (this season it seems) French language tunes, done in recitative style, Sienna’s voice breathy and transparent. The title tune “Verglass” has an interesting way of breaking each line in two—a distich rhythm—and mending the broken effect with a somnolent overdubbed chorus. I like it that the final tune, “Carrie” sounds like a prayer. And I like it that Sienna Dahlen says this album was inspired by ( the late, lamented) Lhasa de Sela, though I miss the guts and grit that shaped Lhasa’s spirit.