A Mix of Bach and Contemporary Works on David Leisner’s ‘Facts of Life’
Facts of Life David Leisner (Azica)
Bach and modern premieres shine in fine “substantial” release
This is a significant and substantial release, in which J.S. Bach’s Lute Suite BWV 997 is sandwiched between contemporary works by David Del Tredici and Osvaldo Golijov. Both are premiere recordings, one a Leisner commission, the other written specifically for him. In the five-movement title track, Del Tredici explores a wide range of textures, the contrapuntal lines in “Fugue” and “My Fetish” being referred to by Leisner as possibly inspired by the magnificent da capo fugue in the Bach. Only in the movement shown as “Flamenco Forever” in the track listing (but “Fandango Forever” in the notes) does the composer perhaps outstay his welcome—the anguished vocalizations that herald the final cadence confirming that it’s time to move on.
The valedictory “Fish Tale” by Osvaldo Golijov, for which Leisner is joined by Tara Helen O’Connor (flute), emerges as a true hit. Pleasingly described by its creator as a “watercolor,” Golijov’s work generates some ten minutes of shimmering aquatic imagery for which this combination of instruments is ideally suited.