The composer trumpeter, pianist and – now we know – manipulator of a myriad electronic boards, Martin Loyato, has delivered his magnum opus in Cinematic Tales, a musical expedition that combines the feeling of epic Wagnerian operatic sweep with the kind of grandiosity that Mussorgsky displayed in Pictures at an Exhibition. All of this is, of course, achieved with minimal fuss; just a small strings ensemble, three French horns together with voices, a pedal steel guitar and the composer and instrumentalist’s trumpet, piano and electronics. With just these judiciously chosen instruments Mr Loyato has created his most breathtaking recording to date.
The title does suggest a kind of movie-like soundtrack. Although the music delivers narratives the album title in fact refers to just one of several miniature episodes that make up the whole album. The music seems to ebb and flow in dynamic fashion. It begins with the aptly-entitled “Somberness”, a quirky title, it seems, that elongates the kind of stasis that swells as oud, piano and voice tumble gently in harmony in a diaphanous manner. A similar fluttering sonic canvas unfolds on “Transcendence” where the feeling of otherworldliness builds magnificently and never really passes until we traverse the music of “Mysteries of Breath”, “Sacred Spaces” and “Parallel Universe”.
The centre-pieces of this magnificent record – and there are two such works here – are “Alli Buenos Aires” (String Quartet) and “Battle at the Gate”. In the former work Mr Loyato infuses the movements with deeply-felt emotions and the kind of sensuous rush of blood that characterises the Argentinian tango – a home-grown form for the composer. The work is performed with fastidious elegance and integrity by a virtuoso chamber group. The latter work is conceived on an infinitely grander scale and, the chamber group is appropriately enlarged to include an Arabic oud, a contrabass, three French horns, a choral section created by masterfully manipulating just two voices, the sound of all of which is drenched in Mr Loyato’s exquisite electronics topped off by his trumpet and flugelhorn overdubs.
The rest of the disc comprises vignettes that seem sonically and thematically connected and – far from being incidental music – make for an enormously imaginative programme. Finally, the disc certainly highlights Mr Loyato’s genius for composition – and there is plenty more from where this came, especially the composer’s work with Pierre Boulez. Still, there is much more to cheer about in in terms of Mr Loyato’s virtuoso trumpet performance, albeit in keeping with the themes he has created especially for this eloquent album.
Track list – 1: Somberness; 2: Alli Buenos Aires (String Quartet) – i. Alli Buenos Aires; ii. Reencuentro; iii. Nostalgia; 3: Becharm; 4: Transcendence; 5: Almas Desnudas; 6: Eurydice; 7: Cinematic Tales; 8: Battle at the Gate; 9: Mysteries of Beneath; 10: Sacred Spaces; 11: Parallel Universe
Personnel – Martin Loyato: compositions, piano (1, 3, 5 – 7), trumpet (6 – 9, 11), flugelhorn (8), electronic orchestration (4, 6 – 10), electronics (9, 11), percussion (9) and digital hand-pan (11); Ziyad Sahhab: oud (1, 8) and voice (8); Rola Milad Azar: voice (1); Peter Clark: violin I (2 – i – iii); Ioana Tache: violin II (2 – i – iii); Tom Higham: viola (2 – i – iii); Richard Vaudrey: cello (2 – i – iii); Ariel Lobos: pedal steel guitar (3); Mohammed Al Khansa: voice (4); Réya Wahab: violin (4, 8); Ae-jeong Lee: violin (7); Chang Hyun: violin (7); Lee Chang: viola (7, 8); Rita Morales: cello (7, 8); Hisham Hallak: vocals (8); Juan Sebastian Villota: violin (8); Sebastian Jameson-Ellsmore: contrabass (8); Ronald Weiss: French horn (8); Carlos Mato: French horn (8); Young Kim: French horn (8)
Released – 2019
Label – Syncretism Records (SR 0003)
Runtime – 52:55
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