Here, there and more

The Glass Farm Ensemble is a sextet comprised of three bassoons, piano, violin and percussion. The bassoon players sometimes rotate and sometimes all join in. That unusual instrumentation hints at the flights this group makes in its chamber selections.

Glass Farm Ensemble
Nieuw Amsterdam New York
(Neuma Records)

This album is intended to highlight the spiritual connection between New York and its European antededents. In addition to Frederic Rzewski's Spots 1-13 (each a separate and short powerhouse of a piece), there are two pieces by Yvonne Troxler (the group's pianist) and a number of other twentieth-century European composers.

For all of the modern underpinnings, the pieces here have as much to do with the Romantic tradition as with the ideas more associated with "modern" composing. There are, of course, nods to jazz and dissonance, but the sound is richer than might be imagined possible in a chamber setting. The ample bassoon lends an unexpected lushness that fills out these performances.

This sucker is far out of my expertise, but it has plenty of appeal for those who like their music on the unusual side. The chamber quartet(ish) setting is hardly austere, and the pieces selected for this album are unfailingly engaging. Get your geek on.

Jon Worley

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