PIERRE JALBERT (b.1967): String Theory, Autumn Rhapsody, Elegy (Kinetic; Natalie Lin Douglas), String Quartet No. 3 (Maia Quartet), In Terra (Shepherd School of Music Orchestra; Larry Rachlef).
Catalogue Number: 09X055
Label: Orchid Classics
Reference: ORC 100177
Description: The three orchestral works here join the well-established and fruitful canon of music inspired by natural phenomena, to which Jalbert's richly atmospheric, very tonal, and colorful idiom lends itself very well. String Theory - the title is a play on the principal in quantum physics that models energy as vibrating strings, but mercifully that is as far as the inspiration goes; no equations translated into musical series here! - is a suite of three movements for string orchestra. The first uses the harmonics of divided vibrating strings with a restlessly energetic pulsating propulsive rhythm; the second spins long lines of sustained notes and harmonics, from which a meditative melody emerges with a kind of "new simplicity" sense of contemplation; the third is strongly rhythmic and syncopated, with a feeling of perpetual motion. Autumn Rhapsody takes its cue from a more typical source of inspiration; the rich, saturated colours of fall foliage in northern Vermont, where the composer grew up. Beginning in an atmosphere of mysterious lyricism, the music is soon overtaken by restless, rustling tremolandi, as fitful autumn breezes animate the canvas of burnished hues. In Terra, for full orchestra, is geological in inspiration. The composer makes impressive use of the bass registers of the orchestra to depict the churning magmatic and tectonic processes deep within the earth. Surging, propulsive dynamism predominates throughout the piece, with sudden frozen pauses like petrified lava formations, and then the relentless planetary juggernaut sets off again. Elegy was written for the 50th Anniversary of the Eastern Music Festival, but it belies its origin as an occasional piece by its profound depth of feeling. A solemn chorale surrounds a beautiful melody, suggesting deep and personal grief. The quartet was originally incidental music for a narrated work based on a Hans Christian Andersen story, hence "h-c-a" (B-C-A) as a theme in the short prelude. The central movement, in 15 "scenes" makes up the bulk of the piece, with a restless scurrying motif carrying a variety of recurring themes in brief episodes with a feeling of ongoing narrative.