Akropolis Reed Quintet
"By turns frenetic and soulful, the five pieces on this new release plunge a listener sharply into the world of the Akropolis Reed Quintet, a sharp, sleek ensemble out of the University of Michigan. Four of the pieces were commissioned by the group, and they share a fondness for funky rhythms, angular textures and slightly aggressive rhetoric — all of which might make the disc a little wearying in the aggregate if the music weren’t so shapely and smart. Moreover, the lyrical episodes that are scattered throughout — particularly the slow movements of the title work by Gregory Wanamaker, and John Steinmetz’s concluding 'Sorrow & Celebration,' which calls for participation from the audience — are pure gold, shot through with tenderness and grace. Leading off is the startling, ingenious “Jesus Is Coming” by the Dutch composer known as Jacob TV, which builds densely layered textures from taped samples of two small children and a terrifyingly unhinged New York street preacher. It’s a piece you can’t unhear."
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