Notes to Century of Change:
The piece opening the CD is loosely based on a Christian song Ave maris stella, the exact provenance of which is poorly known but which, during the late medieval and renaissance periods gave rise to hundreds of interpretations and variations. Here, it is the inspiration for an orchestral work featuring male voices and claves.
After an interlude for cello solo, another orchestral work is featured, inspired by the Swiss composer Frank Martin and thus moving to the 20th century, although the traits of composition are not greatly changed, probably as an indication that all the pieces on this CD are composed in the style described above and therefore placed time-wise at the transition between the ways of expression characterising the late 20th and early 21st century. This is anyway a period with no single musical style dominating.
A second interlude for saxophone solo leads to a composition using various synthesiser voices with roots in China and Japan. Following that, a pavane by Saint-Saëns is played on a concert flute.
The Next Century piece uses a variety of synthesiser instruments together with orchestral percussion sets including vibes and xylophone. The guitar solo piece that follows uses sampled sounds from a classical acoustic guitar. These sound realistic for the lower frequencies but are a bit piano-like for high frequencies.
This is the beauty of sampled voices: they can be used outside (above or below) the frequency range of the acoustic instrument from which they are derived, often with interesting effects. This is important for the present offering of new music, but if the intent had been to emulate a classical orchestra, one would of course have to restrict each instrument to its physical capability.
Next comes a small piece in the 8th tone by the Spanish renaissance composer Antonio de Cabezon (1510-1566). He was blind and his compositions are written down by his son Hernandez, but only several years after Antonio’s death, so the authenticity is questionable. Only a few of the written pieces supports the fame attributed to the composer when he was active at the Spanish court.
The next pieces are “chamber music” with just a few instruments, xylophone and percussion in the first, clarinet solo in the second and koto and kalimba in the last. The intention is for the first piece to be un-restful and the quiet solo interlude harmonic and a bit romantic. The last piece uses the Asian instruments to round up the ideas presented in the CD, in a relaxed form but with moments of the exploratory excursions that have penetrated several of the previous tracks on the CD.