Album: Richard Rijnvos, Uptown/Downtown (Challenge Classics)

 

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The Independent Culture

Dutch composer Richard Rijnvos believes that New York epitomises "the precarious equilibrium between chaos and order", a principle borne out in the two triptychs that comprise Uptown/Downtown.

All six pieces reference American composers, most obviously in the title echo of Ives's "Central Park in the Dark", and the Ivesian use of two orchestras in "Manhattan Square Dances", combined with a Feldman-esque compositional process eschewing narrative development.

And alongside direct quotes from Gershwin in the evocative bustle of "Grand Central Dance" can also be discerned the frantic, exclamation-mark cartoon music of Carl Stalling, with its scurrying ascents and descents, like a character trapped in Tex Avery surrealism. 

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