Robert Een CD review [Starkland]

Music Reviews
Robert Een CD review [Starkland]
Apr 29, 2003, 20:39

ROBERT EEN Mystery Dances CD

Robert Een's Mystery Dances is good-natured art music. The basis is minimalist/serial music such as Glass and Reich, but with a strong vein of melodicism running throughout and a goodly amount of variety, though paradoxically he's chosen to work with a deliberately limited and unusual palette of cello, accordion, percussion, reeds and voice.

Mystery Dances opens with whirling keyboards repeating a tight melodic theme ala early Phillip Glass, but veers from the conceptual rigidity Glass locked himself into introducing a sumptuous string part. Subsequent pieces diverge noticeably from the classic minimalist model—though all start with and maintain endlessly repeating root figures. On respective tracks the different instruments take turns stating the central theme; the remaining instruments encounter these in nicely varied manners: in clockwork counterpoint; pitting long languid streams against furious central vortex; capriciously capering hither and yon—only pausing to glance at the focal point as an afterthought.

The final affect is by turns playful, thoughtful and utterly pleasant without pandering. [Starkland]

-Howard Wuelfing

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