To those outside the genre, the term classical music often conjures images of wigged conductors, symphonic music played in opulent rooms, pomp and circumstance, and past glories. But classical, like any other musical form, move with the times, evolves and faces the future, and does so thanks to artists such as Duo Sequenza.
Yes…It’s Still a Thing! is a collection of deft and delicate neo-classical pieces, generally erring on the side of the understated, here are plaintive and poignant pieces that are as much about the use of space as they are about the solidity and structure of the notes and melodies being played.
Comprised of flautist Debra Silvert and classical guitarist Paul Bowman, this latest release from Duo Sequenza is a beautiful collection of neo-classical pieces that are sweet, smart, and seductive enough also to catch the ear of the more mainstream, contemporary music listener. Undoubtedly the best of both worlds?
The pieces are generally short, designed to be stepping stones through a suite of music that constantly shifts in mood and melodic effect, some, as the titles suggest, are based on improvisations, and all are instrumental. And with only the titles to guide you, though they are some very imaginative and intriguing titles, the listener is free to meet the players halfway and decide for themselves what the music is really about. That is the joy of such beautiful and open instrumental music. It may begin with the composer projecting their ideas, but by the time it is heard, it becomes, for the listener, a personal and intimate, one-way conversation with the universe.
Deirdre Lynd’s John Doe’s Running suite seems to have no small amount of anxiety, anticipation and angularity running through its beautiful cascades, reinforcing the title’s suggestions of a prisoner trying to escape a prison. Whether physical or more mental and imagined, it is down to the listener to decide.
The wonderfully named Mysteries Barcodes set composed by Gary Schocker is gentle and meditative, and Kent Holliday’s Four Romantic Songs Without Words are just that and also spacious, melancholic and soothing. Fredrick Hand’s 4 Excursions have something of the Mediterranian about them, something in the guitar style and the drifting flute lines that conjure warm sirocco winds and a sense of calm to the piece.
It is a beautiful collection that blurs the distinction between the formal classical world and the freer contemporary one but also between place and purpose. It is the perfect bridge for this modern age where the music seems to be dominated by style rather than substance, by sellability rather than natural talent.