By Tamar Sella | Published March 2019
On Marilyn Crispell’s newest album, musicians mold a temporary sonic realm of the unconscious, and traverse through it with dedication and curiosity. The first half of Dream Libretto is a set of five Memoria pieces, Crispell’s suite of personal reflections on loss. Her fallen relatives from World War II exist together with deceased family and friends from recent years in this temporary space that Tanya Kalmanovitch (violin) and Richard Teitelbaum (electronics) create along with the bandleader. This is a sonically rich and textured reality—Teitelbaum’s electronics vast and nuanced. Warm bells flower into faded and jagged violin lines, dense layers of distorted sound and echoing piano formations that reverberate in overtones. The narratives within the pieces are miraculous nonlinear threads of the unconscious, unfolding gently to offer inexplicable turns or to fade into darkness. Such are the sharp dissonances of Kalmanovitch’s bowed violin against the speckles of Crispell’s glimmering voicings in “Part III” of Memoria.
The second half of Dream Libretto consists of seven shorter improvised piano-violin vignettes. Here, Kalmanovitch and Crispell respond to the richness of the mournful dreamspace unfolded before them with a playful calmness, exploring whispers, silences and stillness. The two propel one another into creating the many captivating melodic moments that form each piece, like the inquisitive line of “Unburying The Silences” that insists and repeats in search of resolution, and the enrapturing counterpoint that unfolds throughout “Where Water Moves.”
Dream Libretto: Memoria (Parts I-V); Climb To A Whisper; Unburying The Silences; Dark Reflection; Where Water Moves; Stones Remain Still; Walked Through To Sleep; Stars Visible And Invisible. (47:51)
Personnel: Marilyn Crispell, piano; Tanya Kalmanovitch, violin; Richard Teitelbaum, electronics (1-5).