DMITRI TYMOCZKO (b.1969): I Cannot Follow (Flexible Music), Rube Goldberg Variations (Atlantic Brass Quintet), S Sensation Something (Amernet String Quartet).
Catalogue Number: 02T071
Description: Tymoczko is a music theorist as well as a composer, and in that role he has produced a Grand Unified Theory of what constitutes tonality, with a complex geometrical proof. Fortunately, his music doesn't sound like that - to be fair, he states unequivocally that the theory should stay firmly in the 'composer's workshop' and the musical results stand or fall on their own merits. One outcome of the theory, and presumably of Tymoczko's own musical tastes, which is more to the point, is that all genres of music are very closely related, far more so than they are separated (in other words, there is a vast chaotic wilderness of things that can theoretically be regarded as music, but isn't). The practical upshot of all this is that Tymoczko's music is highly listenable and approachable, but crosses genre boundaries with abandon. Classical forms and harmonies are presented with driving rock 'n roll rhythms, or jazz harmony or instrumentation are applied to melodies of classical elegance, or avant-garde extended techniques and timbres are encountered in the context of what could be film music, or minimalism, or pop. There is a legitimate comparison to be made to the minimalism-inflected ensemble music with a rock attitude of the Bang on a Can composers, or to Frank Zappa. 'Experimental', then, but in the most accessible and entertaining way.