Al­bums by Jo­hann Abra­ham Sch­mierer and Lower Dens

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - JO­HANN ABRA­HAM SCH­MIERER Zo­diaci mu­sici

(Ac­cent) Jo­hann Abra­ham Sch­mierer is about as ob­scure as acom­poser can be. His­to­ri­ans know only that he was born around 1660 in Augs­burg, spent part of his ca­reer there, stud­ied phi­los­o­phy in Dillin­gen and law in Salzburg, and died some­time af­ter 1710. He left a lovely legacy in the form of his Zo­diaci

mu­sici (Mu­si­cal Zo­diac), a set of six or­ches­tral suites pub­lished in 1698. Their ti­tle page de­scribes them as “the First Part of the Twelve Signs of the Zo­diac Pre­sented in Mu­sic,” and, in­deed, a fol­low-up col­lec­tion was ad­ver­tised in 1710, although no copies of it are known to ex­ist. Con­trary to ex­pec­ta­tions, the pieces do not ap­pear to bear spe­cific re­la­tion­ship to the in­di­vid­ual signs of the zo­diac. In the book­let notes, mu­si­col­o­gist Bern­hard Blattmann floats the idea that each may have been part of a larger zo­diac-spe­cific bal­let, but that’s just a wild guess. No mat­ter: Each suite is a sheer de­light, rol­lick­ing through a short over­ture and a suc­ces­sion of courtly dances. This is mu­sic with a strong French ac­cent, re­flect­ing the pas­sion for French style cul­ti­vated in cul­tur­ally chic Ger­man courts at that time. The Ensem­ble Tour­bil­lon, a Czech pe­riod-in­stru­ment group di­rected by Petr Wag­ner, pro­vides ex­pert, vig­or­ous in­ter­pre­ta­tions, some­times ex­pand­ing Sch­mierer’s orig­i­nal string or­ches­tra­tion with winds and a col­or­ful con­tinuo sec­tion. Though not life-chang­ing, this smile-in­duc­ing CD will set toes tap­ping. — James M. Keller

LOWER DENS Es­cape From Evil (Rib­bon Mu­sic) De­spite never break­ing out into wide­spread suc­cess, Jana Hunter has spent more than 10 years chas­ing her muse in var­i­ous di­rec­tions and fine-tun­ing her song­writ­ing craft. She be­gan as a solo folk singer, and later formed a full band ti­tled Lower Dens. This band be­gan as a shoegaze out­fit; as she toyed with the for­mat’s pos­si­bil­i­ties, the mu­sic got more ex­per­i­men­tal. On

Es­cape From Evil, Hunter steers the band in more poppy di­rec­tions. Like many artists these days, she turns to the 1980s for in­spi­ra­tion. This al­bum is fur­ther proof that Fleet­wood Mac’s Tango in the Night, with its slip­pery guitar licks, neon key­boards, and chug­ging midtempo, re­mains the most in­flu­en­tial al­bum in 2010s in­die-pop, but the touch­stones don’t end with that al­bum. “Elec­tric Cur­rent” hums with the stac­cato strings and sexy energy of the Eury­th­mics’ best work. “To Die in L.A.,” the al­bum’s stun­ning lead sin­gle, stretches out over a lively dance beat and twin­kling key­board line; when the har­mony of voices rises up in the cho­rus, it’s trailed by a guitar riff rem­i­nis­cent of Dire Straits. Hunter’s singing is clearer and bolder than ever; her voice is high in the mix to the point of hov­er­ing, and she re­lays sto­ries of long­ing that are rich with earned wis­dom and marked by a flex­i­ble use of gen­der pro­nouns. The end re­sult is en­tranc­ing and the best work of Hunter’s ca­reer. — Robert Ker

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.