The taxonomy of contemporary classical music—new music, contemporary music, whatever you want to call it—is a thorny issue. But every two months, we’ll take a look at some of the best composer-driven music to surface here on Bandcamp, making room for electronic experimentation, improvisation, and even powerful takes on old classics. Here’s a look at the latest.
This young Chicago ensemble has delivered an impressive debut, comprised mainly of commissions from equally young composers (the closing piece by Virgil Moorefield, “A Wish for the Displaced,” is the sole piece by an elder). I’ve never heard of Gabriella Smith, but her pithy “Huascarán” is bursting with ideas. An insistent rhythmic pulse—shaped by percussionist Chris Sies, pianist Jani Parsons, and cellist Jacobsen Woollen—supports the gorgeously overlapping lines played by saxophonist Andy Hall and clarinetist Jason Paige, who engage in some wild overblowing towards the end. Violinist Timothy Stevens’ rich interplay seethes and simmers with a jazz-like sophistication.