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- Baroque by Nadia Sirota
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Nadia Sirota is the “go to violist for the likes of Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Swell Season, Grizzly Bear, Jónsi, The National, and Arcade Fire”. Thats quite the roll call and from the opening notes its immediately clear that Sirota is an incredibly fine player. The breadth of playing and her ability to shift moods at the drop of a hat is breathtaking. The opening track alone goes through an incredible amount of different textures and feels, ramming up seemingly a billion arpeggiated notes in its 10 or so minutes. Its breathtaking but also wholly exhausting.
This is not by any stretch of the imagination an easy listen - no chocolate box melancholy to be found here, instead we have what i’d dumbly term avant garde classical compositions. The second track begins with mid 70’s style synth wibbling before the viola cuts through, the playing again majestic, the juxtaposition between the (relatively) modern sounding synths and the dusty ancient viola is interesting though at times the synths overrule the viola. The album continues in this vein with skittery beatless electronics sitting under sublime viola.
Although brilliant, there is no air of pervading melancholy to the pieces and its hard to make an emotional attachment to the music. Its also resolutely difficult which makes ‘Etude 3’ the opening strains of ‘ETude 3’ written by Nico Muhly all the more welcome, its warm and melodic tones creating a much needed breather from the complex, headspinning found elsewhere though even that doesn’t last as it wanders off hither and thither.
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