Arc is the third album by the Intercontinental Ensemble on the TRPTK label that is available at NativeDSD following Traveling Light and In Motu (In Motion).
Traveling Light alluded to the symphonic arrangements and the ensemble’s international backgrounds. In Motu described both their personal motivation as well as the common motor behind the three pieces on the album.
Arc focuses on music from female composers. It is about the connection between the pieces various personalities which makes the individual pieces part of something bigger.
Each composer has mastered a distinctive style, which means that creating a description of one work ended up being detrimental to another. Whereas one composer challenges the listener with new combinations, another gives familiar sounds new perspective. One piece gives the impression of stylistic refinement, wherein another puts emotion front and center. What makes it even more complicated is that many of these contradictions can even be found during the same piece.
What’s more, every piece tells a personal story that takes the listener along, and as every good story does, provides the listener with new insights that they didn’t have beforehand.
Ernst Spyckerelle – Violin
Iteke Wijbenga – Viola
Simon Velthuis – Cello
Jorge Hernández – Double Bass
Eliška Vondráček Horehleďová – Flute
Ivan Cheng – Oboe
Alfonso Manzanera Rojo – Clarinet
Maria Yañez Ocaña – Bassoon
Simão Fonseca – French Horn
Andreas Patrik Hansson – Artistic Supervisor
Total time: 01:01:56
DSD 512 fs, DSD 256 fs, DSD 128 fs, DSD 64 fs, DXD 24 Bit, FLAC 96 kHz
|Analog to Digital Conversion||
Hapi & Anubis, Merging Technologies with Grimm Audio CC2 master clock at DXD (352.8 kHz)
|Assistant Recording Engineer||
Furutech custom microphone, loudspeaker & power cables and interlinks, Grimm Audio TPR8 breakout cables
DPA d:dicate 4041-SP, DPA d:dicate 4006A, Ehrlund EHR-M
KEF Blade Two, KEF LS50 Meta, Hegel H30, Hegel C55
|Original Recording Format|
Westvest Church in Schiedam, The Netherlands on October 4-7, 2021
JCAT Optimo 3 Duo, JCAT M12 Switch Gold, JCAT NET Card XE, Computer Audio Design GC3, Furutech NCF Boosters
|Release Date||February 11, 2022|
Intercontinental Ensemble is comprised of nine talented musicians from different parts of the world who found common situ in Amsterdam. They play together in what was once a very traditional ensemble grouping—a nonet. Historically, the nonet allowed for some expansive music-making where a larger ensemble was simply not available to be assembled. Traditionally comprised of wind quintet, violin, viola, cello, and contrabass, the nonet is capable of playing a broad catalog of music.
In Arc, the Ensemble moves forward with works from five women composers. And, yes, I’m very glad to see more performers releasing albums focused on the works of women composers. Not so much that theirs is a unique voice, but that so much wonderful music has been missing from our musical collections.
The music in Arc “combines the playful, serious, fragile, strong, the unpredictable and the refined and combines these into a detailed character description of each composer.” The album as it is not about one specific feeling, style or thought. “It is about the connection between the pieces various personalities which makes the individual pieces part of something bigger.” An arch, and thus the name of the album. (From the enclosed booklet.)
Albums with only female composers are no longer a rarity. On this compilation by the Intercontinental Ensemble, consisting of nine winds and strings, a contemporary generation makes new discoveries.
Their work is juxtaposed with two composers whose reappraisal began in the late 20th century. Clara Schumann wrote her Drei Romanzen, opus 21 for piano. The arrangement for ensemble sounds unwieldy in the first and slowest movement, but fortunately it gets lighter and lighter. The final part, in which solo instruments constantly pass on the melody to each other, is especially successful.
The Nonet, opus 38 by Louise Farrenc did not require any editing. It has a warm tone and is played with infectious fun.
The young composers Bianca Bongers and Sarah Neutkens impress with two quite different pieces. In Collage of an octahedron, Bongers builds spatial constructions by combining silences with elongated lines. September I van Neutkens is a melancholy coral veiled in autumnal gold tones.
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