New York Treble Singers; Cassatt String Quartet; The Rooke Chapel Choir; Libby Van Cleve, oboe; Patrick Burton, clarinet; Klyph Johnson, bassoon; David Lee Echeland, tenor, countertenor
... serene and ethereal-sounding music that seems to float ... the overall sound is reminiscent of Ligeti works like Lux Aeterna and the music of Arvo Pärt, with echoes of Renaissance polychoral composers like Tallis and Gabrieli. －Chorus!
Mary Jane Leach (b 1949) explores the physicality of sound, working very carefully with the timbres of instruments, creating combination, difference, and interference tones. The use of sound phenomena, however, is only a means to an end, the ultimate goal being musicality.
Early music, with its imitative polyphony and modal harmonies, is the primary source of inspiration for the compositions on this disc, four of which are part of an ongoing project focusing on the myth of Ariadne－Ariadnes Lament (for a cappella women's chorus), Song of Sorrows (for mixed choir), O Magna Vasti Creta (for women's chorus and string quartet), and Call of the Dance (for a cappella women's chorus).
Two of the pieces draw their material directly from Renaissance works: Ariadne's Lament from Monteverdi's Lamento d'Arianna, and Tricky Pan (for solo countertenor and tape) from the 14th-century poet and composer Solage. The languages Leach sets－early Italian and French, Ancient Greek, and Cretan－also evoke a sense of connection to a remote past.
In contrast to most of her contemporaries, Leach's music is from the aesthetic which favors prolongation, resonance, long statements of subtly varied persistence. In that sense, her music is both easy to follow and mellifluously unpredictable. She has a careful ear for pacing and structural unfolding, often building her pieces to ardent expressive arrivals. Past and present meld in a music of ethereal and limpid beauty.