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  • Label: In a Circle Records
  • UPC: 760137154150
  • Item #: 2635207X
  • Genre: Classical Artists
  • Release Date: 5/17/2024
List Price: $14.99
Price: $13.48
You Save: $1.51 (10%)
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Vigil on CD

ETHEL & Layale Chaker - Vigil / Collaboration between new-music string quartet ETHEL and celebrated Lebanese violinist and composer, Layale Chaker. Vigil documents the remarkable collaboration between ETHEL and the Lebanese violinist & composer, Layale Chaker. Vigil begins with violist Ralph Farris's "Novembers" in an appropriately autumnal mood, with a gently rocking rhythm and occasional rushes of sound, like the wind sweeping the leaves off the trees. It builds into something more insistent, before subsiding into a spare, wintry conclusion. "The Demon Within" by Dorothy Lawson casts an eerie spell that manages to suggest both the richly-textured darkness of Mussorgsky's Night On Bald Mountain and the haunted landscape of George Crumb's Black Angels. Kip Jones contributes "Teen Mania," a piece filled with riffs that sound like folk fiddling, although it's not always clear which "folk" tradition that might be. "Sketka" by Corin Lee is a whirl of Balkan energy, with the strings pausing at one point to make way for a frame drum solo. As for the two collaborations with Layale Chaker, the shorter of the pair is her arrangement of an Andalusian muwashah - the poem-songs of the Iberian peninsula during the period between the 9th and 13th centuries. In her version of "Salla Fina Llahdu," variations on the song's lovely, serpentine melody are supported both by some rhythmic playing from the lower strings and a frame drum. The centerpiece of the album, both figuratively and literally, is the title track. Vigil is a work in four parts plus an epilogue that is inspired by the poem "What They Did Yesterday Afternoon" by the Somali-British writer Warsan Shire. Short, quiet, plain-spoken, and utterly devastating, Shire's work sketches, with startling economy, a world torn by a cascading series of problems: climate crisis, forced emigration, fear of The Other. Chaker's composition urges us to turn anger and incomprehension into action and resilience.