Vividly Melodic New Classical Works by Danielle Eva Schwob

by delarue

Multi-instrumentalist/composer Danielle Eva Schwob‘s new album Out of the Tunnel is streaming at Soundcloud. She used to record under the name Delanila and played artsy electroacoustic pop; this is a quantum leap for her imaginative, colorful contemporary classical craft.

The PUBLIQuartet play the album’s centerpiece. The first movement of Out of the Tunnel is simply titled Fast, a brisk, rather suspenseful, bustling theme that brings to mind Jessica Meyer‘s work, along with Kayhan Kalhor in its most energetic moments.

The slower but typically steady second movement is more circular, in a subdued, rainy-day Philip Glass vein, which really comes to the surface in the fleeting third movement. The conclusion has a bold, flamenco-ish rhythm, Schwob weaving a heroic anthem into a stabbing pulse that brings the initial theme full circle, first as a waltz, then a darkly dramatic canon of sorts. This is fun!

Her arrangement of Travelling North for flute and vibraphone is a spare, conversational, enigmatically twinkling wintry theme, played by Simon Boyar and Nathalie Joachim, respectively. Harpist Kristi Shade plays The Long Way Down with graceful, baroque-tinged fluidity: there’s a distant Renaissance folk melancholy to her steady triplets.

Joachim joins Shade and violist Wei-Yang Andy Lin in Breathing Underwater, the trio building a verdant syncopation that coalesces into a dynamically shifting, Debussyesque pastorale. Caroline Shaw also comes to mind.

As you would expect, Reflections on Francis Bacon – a multitracked cello piece played by Brooklyn Rider‘s Michael Nicolas – is darkly acerbic, often austere, anchored by a gritty pedal note in the early going. Schwob pares it down to an allusively chromatic melody that more than hints at Bach. Ultimately, there is no escape for this guy.

Pianist Orion Weiss plays the concluding piece, Reflections on Lucian Freud, somber introspection spiced with coy peek-a-boo motives, then building to jauntily clustering phrases. The eerily modal cascade to a false ending is breathtaking. Let’s hope that Schwob has more material like this up her sleeve.