Collision Point: William Susman and Piccola Accademia degli Specchi

The Mindful Bard loves music inspired by literature almost as much as literature inspired by music, which is why William Susman is one of our favourite composers, so adept is he at paying homage to language with his mesmerizing sounds.

Susman’s new album, Collision Point was released on the 11th of October. The ensemble Piccola Accademia degli Specchi, based in Rome, play these pieces as if they were written with them in mind, which they likely could have been. After having worked with the composer on other projects for at least ten years the ensemble members are old pros at playing Susman’s occasionally challenging music with all the verve and skill it demands.

The track titles for the first half of the album include names like “Triumph,” and Tranquility,” but I’m hearing a passionate urgency in every bar, a sighing, throbbing push, as if new life were about to emerge and it was our task to be vigilantly awaiting it.

The album is made up of four chamber music scores, Camille, Clouds and Flames, Motions of Return, and The Starry Dynamo. Clouds and Flames gets its name from  the award-winning 2009 novel Let the Great World Spin by the Irish writer Colum McCann, as does the name of the fifth movement, Collision Point, a mysterious piece with piano and plucked strings, which also lends itself to the title of the album. The music is at least as enigmatic and non-linear as the book.

The pieces on this album have all the thrilling impetus you find in the best works by Philip Glass and Steve Reich, but the sounds are all utterly new. Enjoy, be inspired, and expand your mind.

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