Publicity photo via Bandcamp

Michael Vincent Waller: Trajectories

Composer Michael Vincent Waller just keeps on writing, even when trying to settle on instrument arrangements.
Michael Vincent Waller
8 Sep 2017

When New York composer Michael Vincent Waller began recording his works, he turned to his solo piano works. He hit us the following year with a double album full of a variety of chamber music arrangements. With Trajectories, Waller walks it back to solo piano and piano/cello duets. The ensemble format may have shrunk from The South Shore, but the scope of Michael Vincent Waller’s work certainly hasn’t. Trajectories is nearly 77 minutes in length and uses each bar of music for full minimal effect.

What does that mean? It means that neoclassical has dared to step beyond Philip Glass’s boundaries long ago and furthering its own cause by keeping its harmonies and forms close to the chest while the flesh and blood guts of human performance are put on display. R. Andrew Lee and Seth Parker Woods take up the piano and cello respectively, and their performances on Trajectories are melancholy without being overwrought; succinct without being sterile or cold. The eight “Visage” movements are short enough to get to the heart of the matter. The “Breathing Trajectories” are lengthy enough to give Lee and Woods room to rubato their way through the meditations. The nine-minute “Lines” nestles itself directly between the opposite approaches. Couple this with photographs by the legendary Phill Niblock and you have yourself an album that will resonate at the gut level.

RATING 7 / 10