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Cartography

by Mariel Roberts

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Cellist Mariel Roberts releases her second solo recording with bold premiere performances of works written for her by George Lewis, Eric Wubbels, David Brynjar Franzson, and a collaborative work she wrote with Cenk Ergun. Wubbels’ manic gretchen am spinnrade opens the recording in a frenzy, catching Goethe and Schubert’s Gretchen in a psychic tailspin, as the metaphor of the spinning wheel is extended to her karmic life and to the careening of cause and effect in personal and public history. Vacillating between ominous tolling piano chords, demonically virtuosic repeated motivic cells, and snarling cello double stops, gretchen am spinnrade is a relentless work that gives Gretchen, or the listeners, little respite during its sixteen minute duration. As the piece closes, the spinning wheel creaks and moans in disrepair, damaged beyond repair. The boundary between acoustic and electronic in Cenk Ergun and Roberts’collaborative piece Aman has as its ingredients dry, glitchy percussive sounds, airy bow textures, and grinding double stops. Texture and timbre supply the narrative arc in this work, named for a word that translates variously to “security’ in Arabic, and expresses a sense of deep sorrow and loss in Turkish. George Lewis’ solo work, Spinner, is inspired by the ancient Greek belief in the Fates, three sister goddesses charged with determining the course of human life. The work energetically jumps between different disjointed and angular musical characters in a virtuosic technical and expressive display. In his liner note, Lewis observes that even in Plato’s explication of the role of the Fates, the ultimate responsibility and stewardship of our communities lies with humans themselves, a viewpoint that some might find perilous at this historical moment. In Icelandic born, New York city based composer David Brynjar Franzson’s The Cartography of Time is sonically expansive, exploring the dichotomy between micro and macro in local gesture versus structural context. Franzson paints a stark landscape and supplies an inward looking close to an album whose uncompromising energy is unwavering, intense, and at times unsettling in ways that reflect the complicated time in which we live.

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released May 19, 2017

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Mariel Roberts Brooklyn, New York

American cellist Mariel Roberts is widely recognized not just for her “virtuosic” performances, but as a “fearless explorer” (Chicago Reader) in her field. Her ravenous appetite for collaboration and experimentation as an interpreter, improvisor, and composer have helped create a body of work which bridges avant-garde, contemporary, jazz, classical, and traditional music. ... more

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