Chin's Cantatrix Sopranica travels internationally
London, Cologne, Paris, St Pölten, Los Angeles… A five-way commission, Unsuk Chin’s new Cantatrix Sopranica is travelling widely in performances by the world’s leading ensembles including London Sinfonietta, MusikFabrik, Ensemble Intercontemporain and the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group.
The score itself tantalises with a parallel multiplicity of cultural references. As the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger noted: "The Korean composer embodies the new kind of musical globetrotter characteristic of her generation. Her newest piece is an ironic game with the listeners’ longing for something exotic."
"Cantatrix Sopranica will surely add lustre to her reputation as one of the most imaginative purveyors of modernism that is at once colourful, witty and of real substance… From its opening number, with its skittishly inventive, happily euphonious gloss on tuning and vocal ululation, to the last, which treats the voices as both instruments and theatrical characters, the work is sheer delight."
"…a set of "vocal studies" for two sopranos, counter-tenor and big glittery ensemble. Its aim was to evoke and then parody familiar kinds of singing, from warm-up exercises to Baroque arias…. In terms of vocal dexterity and razor-sharp accuracy of tuning, the three singers [the twin Finns Anu and Piia Komsi and Andrew Watts] were astounding."
"In designing a work as "an exploration of the act of singing", Chin gave her gift for fantasy and play, close to Ligeti’s in spirit, plenty of scope to tease and beguile… Melodic tendrils curl, quavers rampage, rhythms leap like capuchin monkeys."
"Chin’s ear for sonority is exceptional"
"The first four movements begin with the innocent intervals of fifth and third which very soon become undermined. Glissandi smudge them; buzzing avalanches ("Boule de Neige") drown them. …everything is silky soft and misty light. Moreover, it is comical… Never did a detailed new music work of new music appear so brief. The work was greeted with enthusiastic applause."
> Further information on Work: Cantatrix Sopranica
Chin photo: Eric Richmond/ArenaPAL
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