Vicens / Michel / Hamrick - Mural | RECORD STORE DAY
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New York City-based, Puerto Rican-born composer, guitarist, and visual artistGabriel Vicens releases his fourth studio album Mural, a recording devoted tohis chamber works.Vicens continues his musical journey by releasing a record of contemporary classical musicincluding pieces for piano trio, wind quintet, Pierrot ensemble and more; featuring some oftoday's finest performers of the New York City classical scene.The immersive and mood-inducing music on this record spans a four-year period of creativity and is thefirst recording to feature concert works by this wonderful artist. Mural explores modern andcontemporary trends such as 12-tone serialism, experimentalism, and minimalism and, at the same time,depicts Vicens' individuality as a composer with a distinctive voice that has been constantly expandingthroughout the years of his career."I see the music of this album as both a continuation of all my previous works and something completelydifferent. Though we could classify this repertoire in a different genre and following different traditions,practices, and influences to my previous records, for me it is all connected. My goals are the same whencomposing any piece of music, which is to create something interesting, beautiful and profound thatworks as a whole and evokes some kind of emotional, mental, and/or physical response in the listener,"says Vicens, a Doctoral graduate from Stony Brook University.Mural is released on the celebrated Milan-based record label, Stradivarius, which specializes inpublishing some of today's best recordings of early music and contemporary classical music. The albumcomprises seven pieces for different types of ensembles recorded at the renowned Bunker Studio in NewYork City.The first track of the album and title piece, Mural (2021) for clarinet, violin, and piano is performed byclarinetist Raissa Fahlman, violinist Joenne Dumitrascu, and pianist Corinne Penner. Followed by SuenosLigados (2020) for piano trio, featuring violinist Adrianne Munden-Dixon, cellist Rocio Diaz de Cossio,and pianist Mayumi Tsuchida. The third track of the album, El Matorral (2022) for Pierrot ensemble isperformed by Roberta Michel on flute, Raissa Fahlman on clarinet, Joenne Dumitrascu on violin, WickSimmons on cello, Corinne Penner on piano, John Ling on vibraphone, and conducted by David Bloom.The recording continues with Una Superficie Sin Rostro (2020) for solo piano, featuring Corinne Penner.Adrianne Munden-Dixon returns with Mayumi Tsuchida on the fifth track of the album, Carnal (2019)for violin and piano. The ensemble Nu Quintet appears on the sixth track, Ficcion (2021) for woodwindquintet. The album concludes with La Esfera (2021) for cello and piano performed by cellist JuliaHenderson and pianist Mikael Darmanie.Vicens is interested in how his approach to music and painting correlate with each other, in particular, hisattentiveness to the two-dimensional flatness of the canvas and how that translates into music. "I createmusical compositions with melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre, and register, and every instrument and partof the composition is equally important to me. Everything needs to work together. The same principleapplies to my paintings, but with color, form, line, and texture instead of musical elements. I see mypaintings as an extension of my music and vice versa. The conceptual processes are incredibly alike,"says Vicens.The compositions included in Mural are characterized by their embracement of dissonance, pointillistictextures, large intervallic leaps, gestural complexity, prolonged silences, great dynamic contrasts, andquiet sustained tones. On many occasions it's possible to encounter a ritualistic and mysterious aspect inhis music that is distinguished by the way he uses repetition over melodic fragments and harmonicpatterns. The influences of Webern and Feldman are perceivable in Vicens' works. Commenting on theevocative repertoire brought together in this album, Tim Rutherford-Johnson remarks in the CD's linernotes, "... although his music is often quite flat in it's surface relations, in it's unfolding over time it admitscracks into that surface, and slow transitions from one color to another."The title of this recording came from Vicens' passion for Roman and Egyptian mural paintings. "I'mfascinated by how Roman and Egyptian frescoes have decayed slowly for centuries and how the cracksand layers of colors have become part of the current stage of the work, creating a complex andatmospheric character. "Music is a reflection of life; it comes from our experiences. We go through cyclesand evolve as the years pass. Over time, we get our cracks and layers of colors, just like the frescoes, andfrom those experiences, we get the energy and the inspiration to write music that communicatessomething abstractly. Mural is what I have to say at this point of my life; my future cracks and layers willslowly tell what's next."The seven works offered in Mural display Vicens' unique vision and voice as a composer and conveys apivotal point that stylistically breaks his career free from the confines of a single genre description. Theaddition of this album to his discography expresses his immense creativity and wide range of skills,displaying how he shapeshifts magnificently across various musical terrains. Finally, the record reveals anidiosyncratic approach that captures his innovative ideas with brilliance and excitement.The album includes a photo-illustrated, 28-page booklet with liner notes by Tim Rutherford-Johnson.