December 26, 2013
by Peter Margasak
Classical music, with young artists taking matters into their own hands and forming bold, forward-looking groups rather than waiting for that elusive symphony job. Northwestern, DePaul, and the University of Chicago have been producing a dazzling number of fearless composers and hungry, open-minded musicians. The following five albums, presented in no particular order, feature some of the greatest talents.
Third Coast Percussion, Resounding Earth (New Focus)
Chicago’s premier percussion ensemble tackles a commission from Augusta Read Thomas, formerly a Mead Composer-in-Residence with the CSO and now a professor at the University of Chicago. The four-movement Resounding Earth is built around the ringing, tinkling, and clanging of bells (though lots of other metal percussion turns up as well), with tones both terse and sustained. The CD comes with a DVD shot while the group recorded the work, which gives you a look at the meticulous integration required by the score—all four Third Coast members stay feverishly busy weaving together the music’s layers of rude impacts and serene resonances.