Canadian composer Allison Cameron (1963) specializes in chamber music,
some of which was collected on Raw Sangudo (XI, 1995).
There is something threatening, sinister and macabre about Cameron's
compositions for unusual ensembles.
The feeling in The Chamber of Statues (1987) is almost gothic: sparse
piano notes, a haunting clarinet theme, random percussion beats.
Raw Sangudo (1986), with its melodic fragments that buzz like insects (sax, trombone and tuba), highlights the intrinsic frenzy and manic tension of her compositional style.
Runa (1990)'s spacey anguish (bassoon, sax, violin, piano and
percussions), that transfers the long languid droning of the Part/Ligeti school
to a slightly dissonant and very sleepy context,
and the distorted beauty of Gibbous Moon (1991)'s baroque counterpoint
(flute, violin, viola, harpsichord) are virtual primers in the art of
emphasizing the colors while maintaining a delicate balance of tones and rhythms.
The high point is A Blank Sheet Of Metal (1987), 26 minutes of
claustrophobic kammerspiel haunted by the ghosts of Edgar Varese and
Pierre Boulez. Notes appear and disappear without coalescing into melodies.
There are irregular pauses between sounds. All instruments are used as
percussion. The two guitars create a discontinuous framework that yields a
sense of alienation. The percussions toy with the flow of time. Piano, organ,
synthesizer, tuba and bass roam the soundscape in an inscrutable manner,
while adding a dramatic quality to the proceedings. These are characters
reciting/conversing on a stage. The music almost dissolves completely,
the guitars strumming every so many seconds of complete silence. After several
minutes, the guitars intone a hard-rock riff and the piece almost turns
Each new listening brings forth new elements of relish from this music of
infinite possibilities and interpretations.
A Gossamer Bit (2015) compiles chamber pieces.
Friends (2015) contains improvised music by a trio named c_RL.
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