• A Pressure Triggering Dreams
: Review

Readers of City will recall that David Felder is the director of the June in Buffalo contemporary music festival. As if that didn't put him solidly enough on the side of the angels, Felder's own music is wonderfully accomplished stuff.

Felder's inspiration for these three works (written between 1982 and 1997) is literary -- poems of Pablo Neruda, and Friedrich Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy -- but his music is mighty eloquent on its own. All three of these pieces are sizable and complicated, but their construction is clear and telling, they are full of beautiful and unexpected (and electronic) touches, and their braininess is balanced by emotional power. With their racketing dissonance and emotional extremes (spelled by passages of exquisite, eerie quiet), these pieces are not easy listening -- the two orchestral works, Six Poems, and a pressure triggering dreams, are overwhelming. Felder's music grabs your attention immediately, but when its over, you really feel like you've been somewhere. That's a rare, valuable gift in this giggly, postmodern age.

"All three works are shockingly difficult to play," Felder admits in the note for this recording, but the players here are solid gold (Jean Kopperud, the clarinetist in Coleccion Nocturna, is downright amazing) and so is the engineering, particularly the orchestral pieces. This is easily the most exciting new-music disc I've heard this year.

A Pressure Triggering Dreams