Sunleif Rasmussen: Dancing Raindrops
01 October 2011
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review
Grego Applegate Edwards
Rigorously conceived modernism joins hands with visionary poetics in
the chamber music of Sunleif Rasmussen, at least in his recent album Dancing Raindrops (Aldubaran)
(dacapo 8.226567). The musical syntax is generally abstract, dialogic
yet lyrical as well. The title piece "Dancing Raindrops" suggests of
course a natural landscape with clarinet, violin and piano initially
engaging in deceptively random yet interdependent interactions that
become increasingly dense and lively, suggesting the natural rhythms of
rain falling and periodicity-order within a naturally chaotic state.
Suite (2007), a piece for guitar and effects processor, begins as a
lively modern classical guitar piece, then enters into denser voicings
that begin to be shaded by electronic alteration, until it becomes
aetherial, almost harp-like. The music expands further to a kind of
cosmic canopy of sound that is not unattractive. The short flute duet, Andalag #2, again suggests natural processes, mediated by a poetic sensibility.
Like the Golden Sun (1993), for piano and effect processor again
begins with conventional acoustic soundings, this time in a pan-tonal,
expressive-rhapsodic mode. There are cycles of relative agitation and
repose, until a playful motif enters for piano and echo, followed by a
dynamically integrated sound excursion for piano clusters and their
electronic transformation. It's quite dramatic. The final movement
introduces mystery with bell-like transformations of piano sounds.
The program concludes with Mozaik/Miniature (1999) for flute,
clarinet, piano and violin. Its a very evocative piece with longer lines
interacting with shorter contrapuntal punctuations in piano and winds.
Again the techniques of modernism are utlized to poetic ends.
Sunleif Rasmussen has given us an intriguing look at his musical world
on this album. It teases the listener with just enough of each sound
universe to want more. As it is it is a most enchanted program that
delights as it spins its various webs of delicate sound events. It will
no doubt be appreciated by any enthusiast of modern chamber music and it
sets expectations for longer works to come. Highly recommended.