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Album Review

On Music of the Next Moment, cellist Craig Hultgren delivers a highly interesting recital of modern works for solo cello, cello and tape, and accompanied cello. The artist's two improvisations have their charm, but they don't match the intensity of dedicated improvisers like Nikos Veliotis or Marcio Mattos. They provide an interesting interlude between demanding compositions, focusing on drones and specific techniques and preparations. The disc opens with Charles Norman Mason's "The Artist and His Model," a delightfully confusing piece in which the tape part consists of treated cello sounds. Two pieces involving spoken word provide the album's highlights. Matthew Martin's "They're Still Running to the West, Rex" has an unshakable scent of Harry Partch's hobo narratives ("U.S. Highball," "Barstow," "Bitter Music"). In Robert Paredes' "Small Writing," a letter to a friend is deconstructed into phonetic fragments, emulating the style of its dedicatee, Kenneth Gaburo. The cello part is jagged and warped, serving up a counterpoint of the text, and Hultgren delivers both with surgical precision. It makes "Small Writing" one of the best tributes that surfaced after Gaburo's death. Lewis Nielson's "Valentine Mechanique (Eating Carmen)" pairs Hultgren with percussionist Michael Geary. The unusual instrumentation works very well, yielding the cellist's most lyrical and energetic performance of the set. Despite a couple of more mundane pieces, Music of the Next Moment offers a good platter of American contemporary music — and a rare occasion to hear Hultgren as a featured performer. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Music of the Next Moment, Charles Norman Mason
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