On this recording, Eighth Blackbird wanders through an unfamiliar house. With each track a new door is opened, releasing unexpected sounds and dramas. Some are sweet, touching. Others have hilarious quirks. A few possess a disturbing strangeness.
The remarkable new-music ensemble Eighth Blackbird has won Grammy Awards for its last two albums on Cedille Records. Now, the “polished, personable, routinely dazzling sextet” (New York Times) returns with meanwhile, an album highlighting the kaleidoscopic diversity of contemporary classical music. meanwhile includes world-premiere recordings of three exciting and accessible works written for the adventurous young sextet: Stephen Hartke’s sparkling, fanciful Meanwhile: Incidental Music to Imaginary Puppet Plays (2007) looks to classical Asian puppet theater for inspiration, with gamelan-style Flexatones and piano altered to sound like a Vietnamese hammered dulcimer; Missy Mazzoli’s Still Life with Avalanche (2008) paints an idyllic landscape disturbed by unexpected news; and Two movements from Roshanne Etezady’s Damaged Goods (2001) grapple with the psychic bruises of everyday modern life.