As the long-awaited follow-up to the 2006 Cantaloupe release The Essential Martin Bresnick, this volume of Bresnick’s recorded oeuvre focuses on the epic five-part string quartet The Planet on the Table, composed in 2019 and recorded by the Brentano String Quartet. Inspired, or better yet instigated, by the poetry of Wallace Stevens, the piece is meant to convey music and sounds that emerge from the mists of memory.
Poignant, meditative and powerful, The Planet on the Table sets the tone for the two challenging pieces that follow: Parisot, featuring cellist Ashley Bathgate, and Bird As Prophet, featuring violinist Elly Toyoda and pianist Lisa Moore. Both are extended studies in evoking the spirit of their namesakes — Brazilian cellist Aldo Parisot, known for his musicality and technical brilliance, and composer Robert Schumann (with a nod to Charlie Parker), whose piano miniature Bird As Prophet from the Waldszenen also served as inspiration.
The recording concludes with Lisa Moore’s intense performance of Bundists, for solo piano — a brief but lively work that folds elements of Schumann, Ligeti, and other fragments of Bresnick’s own into a burst of color and sound.