Jan 18th 2007: Akathistos Fragments


Jouissance records a new CD in the Iwaki Auditorium, ABC, Melbourne.

Review by Realtime: "Under artistic director Nick Tsiavos, Jouissance has produced a unique, lyrical and musically complex take on sixth century Byzantine chorale with contemporary fusions... The recording is simultaneously seductive yet complex, far from the faux historicism of most Gregorian chant recordings... The CD begins with passages of often highly syncopated singing from Kayser, answered by active contemporary instrumental responses. Norman makes the most of the special character of the shakuhachi: sharp, highly pitched accents and extended, stretched notes hover over the other instruments or make up short lead sections. Periods of sustained, strongly tongued vibrato feature within the most intense exchanges, such as the tightly controlled storm of instruments on track five (a Thracian dance)... There is an implicit narrative at the heart of the Byzantine motifs reworked here, which although related in the liner notes, remains largely opaque to modern listeners. This matters little however as the sheer gorgeousness of these works, tinged with a sense of divine tragedy, more than carries the cycle. In the context of so much spiky, acerbic New Music, it is a rare pleasure to find such a luscious new work."  Jonathan Marshall