Grare

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COMPOSERS: Grare
LABELS: Alpha
WORKS: Follow; Fugitives; Koân
PERFORMER: Joël Grare, Axel Lecourt (percussion), Nicolas Giraud (trumpet, percussion)
CATALOGUE NO: 504
Given that the orchestral percussion section as we know it is in fact a selection of highly exotic instruments imported from other cultures, it would be nice to think that the non-specialist might not find this music particularly formidable. These three works, each segmented into short sections, were originally conceived as dance pieces. The first is a slightly twee little composition for a set of bells from a particular foundry (the composer having apparently spent 15 years assembling a chromatic set) which tries to be both an exploration of the instruments’ timbre and a delicate exercise in melody; unfortunately, these two elements tend to cancel each other out. The two works which follow team Grare’s percussion with that of two colleagues, one of whom also plays trumpet. Both are generally bright and vigorous in their treatment of their fairly undemanding rhythmic motifs. However, the main attraction of this CD lies in the varied sonorities of the instruments involved, which range from said bells to Syrian frame drums, water drums, Chinese, Indian and Brazilian instruments and much else. Purists may scowl at such a recipe for cultural soup, but the musical effectiveness of this approach in a modern context is undeniable. Roger Thomas

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