CD Review: Orbis

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Valérie Milot, harp; Les Violons du Roy
Analekta. 2016. AN 2 9880. 52 min 46 s.

Valérie Milot steps out of her comfort zone in this Orbis recording. Her last disc basked in a smooth eighteenth-century style. The repertoire could inject life into a boring Sunday morning. Now Milot offers us something surprising – something that will satisfy those who are sick and tired of listening to the same music.

Long-lasting romanticism and the harp do not belong in this recording. It’s worth noting how the works were intelligently selected: they focused on modern cyclical music (otherwise known as minimalist music). Forget about dewdrops and angels. Works by Zappa and Gentle Giant are featured on this disc. These musicians compose intricate pieces from the progressive rock era – and they work perfectly. El Dorado, composed by Canadian Marjan Mozetich, is fascinating. This work, first performed by Erica Goodman (SRC.1991), rises to greater heights and never drops again. Steve Reich creates a hypnotic effect with repetitive pulses. Valérie Milot uses multitracks wisely to provide fascinating colours. John Cage’s In a Landscape takes us back to the past – a time to rediscover the old-fashioned instrument. It’s important to take in each note and each measured, regular rhythm, just like an hourglass flowing slowly. Quite the original disc!

Translation: Dwain Richardson

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