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Gernot Wolfgang displays a unique compositional voice on 'From Vienna With Love' / Classical CD Reviews

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I love discovering new 21st Century music. Over the past few years, I have gained much pleasure from composers such as Guillaume Connesson, Joseph Phibbs, Kenneth Fuchs and Paul Patterson. Another potential candidate for the list is a name completely unfamiliar to me, Gernot Wolfgang.

This is a somewhat difficult disc for me to describe in words, simply because Mr. Wolfgang displays such a unique compositional voice. I usually try to connect to new music by relating it to other composers with which I'm familiar. That is simply impossible here - in a very good way. It's all so refreshing, new, interesting and involving, I have a hard time turning it off. And each piece is completely different from its companions. Not for an instant does this music sound all the same; nor does it turn into atonal noise; nor is it a jumble of meaningless notes. Every phrase has a musical purpose and is musically creative and rewarding.

The album is subtitled "Groove-Oriented Chamber Music, Vol 4". And as I listen, I don't really hear whatever I was expecting from that description. Involving, yes. Energetic, yes. Rhythmic, yes. But "grooving"? I actually am more impressed and moved overall by its sheer musicality - its lyrical, melodic inspiration - which is rather rare to find in "new" music. And that's OK, because I really like this music, no matter how it's described.

All in all, I enjoyed this disc very much and listened to it straight through, twice. The compositional inspiration is apparent everywhere. And the inventive orchestration is endlessly interesting and compelling. Mr. Wolfgang has me hooked, and I'll need to acquire the earlier volumes in the series. I cannot praise highly enough the accomplishments achieved here - the music, the performers (all Los Angeles-based professionals), and the recorded sound. A composer simply cannot be rewarded more highly than with this level of excellence from all involved.

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