Rick Baitz

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - ALBUM REVIEWS -

The mu­sic of the Amer­i­can com­poser Rick Baitz un­folds in long, episodic streams of sound, one sec­tion fol­low­ing an­other like the chap­ters in a pi­caresque novel. Each of the three cham­ber works on this en­gag­ing disc cre­ates a dis­tinc­tive sound world and then ex­plores it for some 15 or 20 min­utes with­out a lot of for­mal vari­a­tion. The re­wards come less in dra­matic struc­ture than in the in­gra­ti­at­ing al­lure of Baitz’s tex­tu­ral and in­stru­men­tal pal­ette. “Chthonic Dances,” for string quar­tet, is a long skein of swingy up­tempo bagatelles, while “Hall of Mir­rors,” scored for per­cus­sion quar­tet and elec­tron­ics, con­jures up the twangy sonori­ties and taut rhythms of In­dian mu­sic. The ti­tle work, a trio for clar­inet, vi­ola and piano, proves the most dis­tinc­tive, with spec­tral open­ing ges­tures grad­u­ally co­a­lesc­ing into a more crisply de­fined nar­ra­tive. All three pieces, even when they sound overex­tended, boast a win­ning com­bi­na­tion of har­monic ac­ces­si­bil­ity and tart emo­tion­al­ism. — Joshua Kos­man


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