Yuji Takahashi, Eric Huebner, piano
Mark Dresser, contrabass
Pablo Gómez, guitar
John Richards, Mark Menzies, viola
Rachel Beetz, flute
Alexis Descharmes, cello
Michael Boyd, liner notes
Roger Reynolds: the imagE-imAge set
Neuma Records is proud to offer for the first time anywhere the complete recordings of Roger Reynolds’s imAge-imagE set (2007-2015). Respected publisher C.F. Peters presents the entire set of scores in collaboration with this release. On this CD, Reynolds explores the idea of broader formal structure in a creative, compelling and uncharacteristic manner. The series features six pairs of comparatively short, related works that showcase several solo instruments: flute; viola; cello; contrabass; piano; and guitar. Each pair represents opposing ideas. The first work within each pair comprises a piece called imagE/ – which is meant to be evocative – while the second in the pair, called imAge/, is considerably more articulate and punctuated. Both works are composed for the same instrument. The composer notes that in this configuration the evocative “imagE/…is…concerned with symmetry; it is more lyrical, continuous, even tender. imAge/… is ‘articulate’ and sectional, tending toward assertion, and variety.” Thus, the “evocative/articulate” contrast that is created, and its formal implications, conceptually drives this series of pieces.
The historical significance of these works is manifest in the fact that, while unusually smaller in scope, they retain the vividness and expansiveness characteristic of Reynolds’s larger soundscapes by masterfully distilling his compositional aims. Reynolds fully explores the sonic potential of the instrument in each solo work, demanding nothing less than virtuosity from every artist. Handpicked by the composer, this album represents the best available recordings of these works. Among the all-star cast of performers appearing on this disc are legendary composer and pianist Yuji Takahashi, versatile improviser/bassist Mark Dresser, French cellist Alexis Descharmes, and the New York Philharmonic’s pianist Eric Huebner. Other highly respected artists who appear are guitarist Pablo Gómez, violists John Pickford Richards and Mark Menzies, and flutist Rachel Beetz. Liner notes by theorist and composer Michael Boyd present a superbly insightful and informative analysis of several works from the set and constructs the historical and aesthetic contexts of the entire series within Reynolds’s body of work.