Scott Brickman composer
Beth Levin piano
Eight Strings & A Whistle
Composer Scott Brickman demonstrates the diversity of his inspirations and musical interests on his third full album on Ravello Records, NINETY-SIX STRINGS AND TWO WHISTLES. Drawing on a sea of influences, from Baroque dance suites, to the compositional methods of Arnold Schoenberg, to punk rock, the mixture of popular and historic references broadly typifies post-modern American music composition.
French Suite was written for the ensemble Eight Strings & a Whistle, each movement featuring either the flute, viola or cello as an ensemble leader. The piece draws on Baroque French suites, particularly Bach’s and the French Canadian affinity of his home state of Maine. The prevalence of short, dotted rhythms in the suite’s first movement seem to reference the characteristics of Baroque-era French overtures; likewise the slower tempo and ¾ meter of the second movement seem to reference Minuet movements common to Baroque dance suites.
Divertimento, for cello and piano, references the genre of light, melody-driven pieces dating back to the eighteenth century. The pseudo-Romantic lyricism of the cello parts in the slow first and third movements is evident, and demonstrates Brickman’s facility with 12-tone composition as he achieves melodic sweetness uncommonly associated with the fruits of that compositional technique.
Unlike Divertimento and French Suite, the piece Wind Power was composed without a number or historical references in mind. The self-constrained work offers a conclusion to the album that presents a distinct style and form in juxtaposition to the other tracks