Tri-Centric Orchestra

Blake, Bynum, Laubrock
(Self Release/Bandcamp)

The Tri-Centric Orchestra originated in 2010 as part of Anthony Braxton’s opera Trillium E. Post-opera, the orchestra invited commissions that brought together composition and improvisation like many smaller groups do, but on a much larger scale. The three composers represented here—Dan Blake, Taylor Ho Bynum and Ingrid Laubrock—embrace the challenge of creating works for a group of this size, despite typically writing for much smaller ensembles. After creatively integrating ensemble tuning, Blake’s Agora gradually flows, blossoming and growing into a massive creature, only to quickly dissolve. In its wake, soloists lyrically and frantically improvise, rebuilding the music with a cryptic sense of dread. This pattern continues throughout most of the piece, showcasing the individual talents in addition to the heavy chemistry the enormous ensemble has as a whole. Bynum’s Questions Of Transfiguration features a desolate, dense chaos. Rich, somber strings open and tie much of the piece together while winds interject with piercing and pointed attacks. The choir swoops in and the components swirl together, all pained and wrought with emotion. The final piece, Laubrock’s Vogelfrei, pulls at time, elongating and distorting it. Its intricacies instigate each other, and its long, ascending crescendo (reminiscent of The Beatles’ “A Day In The Life”) is a high point of the piece, drawing upon the suspenseful feeling so present in the rest. To best appreciate this album, it is suggested to read the composer’s notes. Not for casual listening, these cerebral works are powerful looks at how improvisation can play a role in a large ensemble without being too overbearing and what can inspire a composer.


On Sale Now
December 2022
Kenny Barron
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