This album was my introduction to the music of Peter Child. Like Lindberg’s works, Child’s music is multi-faceted and adaptable to whatever idea is at hand. The wild and exuberant Jubal is essentially a symphony-concerto for orchestra, compressed into one 15-minute movement. Adirondack Voices consists of settings of folk songs that were brought to America from UK and spread through Adirondack logging communities. These aren’t simply transcriptions: the textual content of each song informsthe musical content. These texts revolve around death, as in the logging tragedy depicted in III. He makes it clear how near death was to people in those communities.
Shanti is the central piece here and a significant achievement for Child. Informed by his studies of Karnatic music theory, he combines the many scales and permutations of the melakarta system with transformative techniques in western music, like inversion and retrogression. The piece stands as a cultural exchange between two related, yet distinct systems of music theory. He fully engages with and respects the material, which is more than can be expected of many composers today. Each of the eight movements is based on a rasa (aesthetic emotion). Each movement contains different styles and tones, like the Prokofieff-like pastiche of IV, Hasya (humor) and the influence of Messiaen’s Turangalila symphony in VI, Raudra (rage). This is a fantastic album. Gil Rose and BMOP continue to deliver exciting releases and I look forward to hearing more of Child’s music.