Wayne Alpern : Rezurrektion Review
Wayne Alpern’s Rezurrektion – A Mesmerizing Continuation of the Theme and Variations Tradition
With its rich tapestry of motifs and melodies, classical music has long celebrated the tradition of ‘theme and variations.’ This practice sees composers drawing inspiration from their predecessors, adding distinctive touches, thus ensuring the art form remains vibrant and constantly evolving. Wayne Alpern’s Rezurrektion is a stellar testament to this enduring tradition, masterfully interweaving iconic motifs from classical masterpieces with fresh, contemporary musical idioms.
The Sirius Quartet, an ensemble comprising world-renowned musicians, becomes the conduit for Alpern’s innovative vision. Their unwavering commitment to the foundational essence of the pieces, coupled with a keen adaptability to Alpern’s modern reinterpretations, truly elevates the album. Each string instrument, be it the violins of Chern Hwei Fung and Gregor Huebner, Ron Lawrence’s rich viola, or the resonant cello of Jeremy Harman, plays an instrumental role in realizing Alpern’s innovations, transforming them into an auditory tapestry of emotion and precision.
Alpern’s Rezurrektion is an exploration that transcends mere musical composition. It operates as a portal bridging epochs, grounding classical melodies firmly within the present, and crafting a soundscape where boundaries between the classical and contemporary dissolve. This convergence challenges traditional musical delineations, presenting an experience simultaneously rooted in familiarity and propelled by exploration.
Beyond the classical resonance of the string quartet, Alpern showcases a palette of extended techniques, painting a spectrum of emotions and atmospheres. The precision of the album’s production captures both the minutiae and grandeur of these intersecting musical worlds, ensuring every nuance, whether rooted in tradition or innovation, resonates with clarity. The album’s pacing is a symphonic journey—oscillating between introspective tranquility and vivacious crescendos, showcasing Alpern’s deft hand in navigating the terrains of varied musical moods.
Rezurrektion invokes the pioneering spirit reminiscent of the likes of Steve Reich, particularly in its bold and innovative recompositions. Concurrently, there’s an undeniable echo of genre-defying maestros such as Yo-Yo Ma. Alpern’s adaptability has been a hallmark across his oeuvre, yet Rezurrektion emerges as a luminous beacon, distinguished by its audacious reinterpretations and intricate layering.
“Eine kleine Nachtmusik” is a brilliant confluence of Mozart’s timeless grace interwoven with Alpern’s contemporary flair. Alpern’s homage to Mozart is evident, yet he introduces an array of innovative elements – from jazz-inspired harmonies to twentieth-century classical nuances. The pizzicato and percussive strikes bring a fresh, rhythmic dimension. Notably, Alpern’s development of musical quotes, such as the one around the 4m 12s mark, demonstrates his ability to take familiar motifs and transform them, creating a dynamic buildup of energy. The Sirius Quartet’s passionate performance only accentuates the compositional mastery of Alpern. The harmonic movement, reharmonization, and chord voicings showcase his adeptness in keeping the listener engaged.
“G Minor Quintet” ventures into the passionate undercurrents of Mozart’s String Quintet No. 4 in G minor, K. 516, Alpern injects an energetic vivacity right from the start. The blue notes around 1m 34s and the fluid counterpoint at 3m 31s further accentuate Alpern’s ability to breathe new life into classics. Rich voicings and expanding themes create an ambiance of suspense and drama, capturing the quintessence of the original piece while giving it a contemporary sheen.
With a vivacious start, Alpern embarks on a joyous exploration of the “C Major Sonata.” The walking bassline in the cello and rhythmic jazz undertones serve as a testament to his cross-genre capabilities. Pizzicato sequences, particularly around 1m 16s, punctuate the piece, while the Afro-Caribbean rhythmic structure introduced at 1m 26s adds a distinctive flavor. The intricate counterpoint around 2m 43s only reaffirms Alpern’s versatility and his talent in intertwining varied musical elements seamlessly.
In Rezurrektion, Wayne Alpern doesn’t merely pay homage to classical masters; he actively converses with them. He invites their timeless themes to the foreground and, with the eloquence of a masterful orator, interlaces his contemporary commentary, opinions, and insights. This album stands as a dialogue spanning across epochs, cultures, and musical styles, reminding listeners of music’s enduring ability to communicate, evoke deep emotions, and bridge temporal gaps. Alpern’s work, especially in Rezurrektion, reaffirms that while the nuances of music might evolve, its soul – its timeless ability to communicate, to elicit emotion, and to bridge diverse worlds – remains eternally unaltered.
September 15, 2023
Henri Elkan Music