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Tessa Brinckman
East West Continuo
Ensemble East West

Avant Garde

upc# 6 11226 00212 1

Duration: 69 min.

Price: $14.95

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Tessa Brinckman

tessa image
photo:John Klicker/Julie Keefe

    New Zealand flutist Tessa Brinckman works in many orchestral, classical, festival and contemporary chamber ensembles around the Northwest, including the Oregon Symphony and Ernest Bloch Festival. She has received numerous grants and awards, including a Regional Arts & Culture Council grant for her Pacific Khyal project of commissions and performances of Western and Hindustani classical music. Recent recordings includes a flute and electronic media work on the CD Dog Star (North Pacific Music). She has continued to explore Indian raga and more recently tango during the last four years.

    Tessa is the founding director of the East West Continuo, a group which has been warmly received by Northwest audiences since its inception in 2003, incorporating other artistic media to reach an enthusiastic and diverse audience. East West Continuo is a flexible ensemble of flute and stringed instruments, both Western and non-Western, which continues its mission of exploring traditional and hybrid material, commissioning new works and reviving old ones.

CD Reviews

"...a haunting, attractive and virtuosic journey across cultural influences.... the playing marked by temperament and subtle inflection...Brinckman is a flutist of chameleon-like gifts, and her colleagues join her in performances of prismatic shading and virtuoso elegance."
-- Donald Rosenberg (The Gramophone)

This disc is wonderful...a special sort of Pacific Northwest music style. There are six pieces here, and all are unique and mostly beyond simple description. I am especially taken by the Gabel, an exploration of different colors created by the flute and Japanese Koto. The longest work is Mark Fish's Pictures of Miro, a set of 11 movements depicting famous Mire paintings. This piece sent me to the library to find reprints of each painting. The performers play this music with conviction and grace. Flutists looking for unknown music to explore must buy this, and anyone who appreciates great music will enjoy it. I hope this group travels soon to bring their music to a wider audience.
-- Chaffee (American Record Guide) Nov./Dec. 2005

"Brinckman...plays her instrument with great beauty and eloquence... Through a Gentle Rain...by...Gabel, influenced by... Japanese life and culture... [is written] for flute and koto mellifluously and evocatively... Brinckman's work... Glass Sky [CD title track]... a stunning evocation of arid landscapes and ambient birdsong..."
-- Peter Mechen (Music Matters - New Zealand)

"Portland-based New Zealand flutist Tessa Brinckman's East West Continuo paints a series of vivid cross cultural musical portraits using flute, koto, harp, viola, cello and violin, and their debut CD is one of the loveliest albums I've heard this year."

"Portland composer Jack Gabel's "Through a Gentle Rain" evokes a walk in a Portland park."

"Bernard Andres' "Narthex" was inspired by medieval churches in Burgundy, while Bay Area composer Mark Fish's ambitious, Ravel-ian "Pictures of Miró" (2004) swings from playful to pensive to singing to ominous in depicting 11 of the Spanish master's paintings."

Swiss composer Volkmar Andreae's captivating 1942 flute quartet will happily surprise anyone who thought mid-century classical music must be thorny and dissonant.

Brinkman wrote "Glass Sky" after a return visit to her childhood South African home, incorporating Hindu raga and early European music to evoke the sculpture garden of the artist Helen Martins' Owl House Museum and the area's wildlife. Brinckman commissioned California composer D'Arcy Reynolds to compose a companion suite, "Cloven Dreams," informed by the "magical realism" of the museum's figures and set to an enchanting hybrid of African and European classical musical forms."
-- Brett Campbell (Eugene Weekly)

Paintings by the playful Catalan modernist Joan Miró (1893-1993), previously the inspiration for Bobby Previte's greatest work to date, are also the muse behind Mark Fish's more intimate 2004 Pictures of Miró scored for flute and string trio whose 11 movements total less than 20 minutes. In the fourth movement, "Girl Practicing Gymnastics," the flute convincingly imitates a slide whistle before the trio launches a groove reminiscent of a Viennese waltz over which the flute cheekily intones a hook-filled melody.

In addition to being a highlight of Portland, Oregon-based flutist Tessa Brinkman's exciting collection of recent music for flute and strings (with the widest interpretation here, there's a track featuring a koto), Fish's Miró pictures are also a great excuse to feature Geoffrey Fairburn's gorgeous Miró-esque painting Eclipse II 1984 on the cover.

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[ 1 ]  Through a gentle rain  [Jack Gabel - 2000] LISTEN
[ 2 ]  Narthex  [Bernard Andrés - 1971] LISTEN
         < span class="txtbold13">Pictures of Miró  [Mark Fish - 2004]  
[ 3 ]      I. Self-Portrait LISTEN
[ 4 ]      II. Dog, Barking at the Moon LISTEN
[ 5 ]      III. The Lutanist [Dutch Interior 1] LISTEN
[ 6 ]      IV. Girl practicing gymnastics LISTEN
[ 7 ]      V. Man & Woman in Front of Pile of Excrement LISTEN
[ 8 ]      VI. Woman LISTEN
[ 9 ]      VII. Self-Portrait LISTEN
[10]      VIII. The Escape Ladder LISTEN
[11]      IX. NIghtingale's Song at Midnight and the Morning Rain LISTEN
[12]      X. Red Sun Gnaws at the Spider LISTEN
[13]      XI. Self-Portrait LISTEN
         < span class="txtbold13">Quartet for fl., vln., vla. & vcl.  [Volkmar Andreae - 1942]  
[14]      I. Molto vivace LISTEN
[15]      II. Adagi, non troppo lento LISTEN
[16]      III. Molto vivace LISTEN
[17]      IV. Molto lento - Molto vivace LISTEN
[18]  Glass Sky  [Tessa Brinckman - 2004] LISTEN
[19]  Cloven Dreams  [D'Arcy Reynolds - 2004] LISTEN

East West Continuo

photo: John Keefe

Tessa Brinckman - flutes
Daniel Rouslin - violin
Victoria Gunn Pich - viola
Lori Presthus - cello
Victoria Ehrlich - cello
jenny Lindner - harp
Mitsuki Dazai - koto

[ 1 ]  THROUGH A GENTLE RAIN  [08:44]  Jack Gabel (2002)
         flute/ piccolo/alto flute & koto
Gabel moves with ease between Japanese folk and esoteric musical cultures, and an elegant, avant-blues. The composer is often inclusive of his performers when developing a piece, and invited the flutist and koto-player to write their own cadenzas.
[ 2 ]  NARTHEX  [07:47] - Bernard Andrés (1971)
         flute & harp
French composer Andrés used photos of his visit to Romanesque churches in Burgundy as inspiration, struck by the poetry and drama of these medieval structures' cool, dark, interior and the bright light outside. He draws directly from Old Testament scenes sculpted in stone inside the narthex (the entrance hall or porch preceding the nave), through which pilgrims would pass in order to rest, eat and contemplate.
[3-13]  PICTURES OF MIRÓ  [19:00]  Mark Fish (2004)
          & nbsp; flute, violin, viola & cello
Eleven movements theatrically depict eleven paintings by the Spanish artist Joan Miró (1893-1983), ideally presented in performance as audio-visual companions to one another. The composer has had a long-time passion for the artist's work, and describes his personal and musical responses to Miró's paintings...
[14-17] QUARTET, Op. 43 [14:17] - Volkmar Andreae (1942)
           & nbsp;flute, violin, viola & cello
This lush and tempestuous work reflects Swiss composer Andreae's vast knowledge and love of late 19th century and 20th century romantic, impressionistic and neo-classical repertoire. Celebrated flutist Andre Jaunet (and fellow teacher at the Zurich Conservatory) first performed this quartet in 1942.
[18]  GLASS SKY  [09:29] - Tessa Brinckman (2004)
         flute, violin, viola & cello
Glass Sky was inspired by Brinckman's journey to South Africa and a visit to the artist Helen Martins' Owl House Museum, in 2002. The artist's cement sculpture garden and glass-encrusted Owl House is set in the small town of Nieu Bethesda, in the desert plains of the Karoo. It embodies many aspects of South Africa that Brinckman (b. 1963) remembers from her childhood there - the electrifying natural world, human suffering and the attempted transcendence of that suffering.
[19]  CLOVEN DREAMS  [09:28]   D'Arcy Reynolds' (2004)
         flute/ piccolo, violin, viola & cello
Cloven Dreams was commissioned as a companion work to Glass Sky, and centers around the interior and immediate exterior of the Owl House. Inspired by Hugh Tracey's African field recordings, and by a book about the artist Helen Martins, Reynolds writes in a unique voice flavored with jazz, European classical and African musical traditions.

  TOTAL TIMING:    69:13

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