Nostalgia Variations by Adam Roberts is the capstone work of the album, clocking in at just a little over 20 minutes…Roberts crafted a wonderfully elaborate piece based on a simple idea and Transient Canvas did a masterful job executing that vision, and it is a perfect choice as the closing piece for the album.
The longest and perhaps most ambitious of the works concludes the program, namely Adam Roberts’ “Nostalgic Variations” (2015).
A lot to like: Roberts’s busy, burbling music, his clarity with vocal writing, his flexibility in changing his text setting to match the drama.
Roberts’s fractured, attractively kinetic score, for chamber ensemble and electronics, keeps the ear engaged throughout the 90-minute work.
The drama’s raw emotion is enhanced by Roberts’ music, which contains an attractive mix of the familiar and exotic. An ensemble of clarinet, saxophone, cello, percussion, and electronics combine jazzy and disjointed melodies into a sparkling collage. But for the meditation scenes, Roberts’ vocal writing becomes otherworldly, where the undulating vibratos and throaty tones of Middle Eastern chant mix with a wash of electronics for a haunting and beautiful effect.
…bubbling with polyphonic intricacy and intensity.
Roberts created dynamic arcs of expression in his “Pulse Satellite” that flowed from one mood to the next, using skillfully balanced effects.
In his amazingly lush score, Roberts employs electronics, and the resources of his four singers, and four instrumentalists to create “two distinct musical spaces” that translate the life of the mystic poet Rumi into a “modern tale set somewhere in the Midwest.”…In all, this opera is quite successful and makes for a powerful evening.
…urgently dynamic, well-made, and strangely moving…a formidable ear, possessed of a compositional toolbox that would be the envy of any of his contemporaries.