The unique expressiveness of the work of Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006) speaks to the listener with directness and nuanced layers of sound, the powerful, rhythmic stringency of the music testifying to the relentlessness of her vision. Fiercely independent, Ustvolskaya maintained that her music sounded like the work of no other composer, living or dead, and put herself outside all stylistic “schools”. Her work, said Viktor Suslin, has the "narrowness of a laser beam capable of piercing metal."
The highly gifted Swiss clarinettist Reto Bieri makes his ECM New Series debut with ‘Contrechant’, a brilliant recital for solo clarinet that looks at new developmental possibilities in the ‘language’ of the instrument in modern music. A wonderful panorama of contemporary music for clarinet by giants of new music – Elliott Carter (the grand old man of US music who celebrates his 103rd birthday in December), Heinz Holliger, Luciano Berio, Peter Eötvös and Salvatore Sciarrino plus an intriguing work by much discussed young Hungarian composer Gergely Vajda.
Folk vocal trio with a smooth, wholesome delivery, who helped popularize the work of Bob Dylan and proved crucial in bridging two music generations. The most popular folk group of the 1960s, Peter, Paul and Mary in later decades have also proved themselves to be among the most durable music acts in history. Their longevity dwarfs that of the Weavers, while the fact that the trio continues to be associated with a major record label (Warner Bros.) after decades in the business sets them apart from rivals like the Kingston Trio and the Brothers Four. Then again, perhaps it isn't so surprising – Peter, Paul and Mary's roots run deeper than almost any other folk act one might care to name, while their appeal crosses audience lines that other acts couldn't (and can't) even approach.