27 Epigrams

Pavone spent 2002 creating short poem-like pieces. With the passing of each season, she adopted a new instrumentation. Each epigram is an attempt to crystallize an elemental musical idea in a handful of notes, the smallest of gestures. Every track stands alone as a refined moment in Pavoneís musical world that can be contemplated inexhaustibly.

In the winter, she wrote twelve epigrams for viola, cello, english horn and bassoon, a quartet with a dark, warm, and woody sound. In this ensemble the bass and alto registers, and the double reed and string timbres balance each other perfectly. Pavone weaves these symmetries into methodical, self-enclosed statements.

The nine spring epigrams were written for a much quirkier, asymmetrical instrumentation - clarinet, viola, and marimba. These voices donít so much blend in with each other as stick out at odd angles. Appropriately, the trio epigrams have a mystifying, riddle-like character.

The common denominator of the winter and spring epigrams is Pavoneís viola, which emerges in the solitary light of the six summer epigrams. These are heartfelt solos which have an air of direct, unsentimental feeling. If the quartets are quatrains and the trios are riddles, then the solos are surely haiku.

"The music on "27 Epigrams" is not easily pigeonholed. The solo pieces do not stick to one style, the quartet tracks often have a chamber music feel and the trio compositions could be called avant-garde jazz. The variety is impressive, perhaps not as a selling point but as a description for what Pavone has created. This is her music, played the way she wrote it and how she wants it to sound. Instead of an ego trip, it serves as a defining moment for her as a composer. If you can set aside your preconceptions about "new music" and take your time exploring these "little" pieces, you'll discover Pavone's "epigrams" are intelligent and clearly drawn. Yes, it can be challenging yet this music can also be pleasing."

- Richard Kamins
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Her epigrams are compellingly moving and stir deep feelings that range from despondency to lightheartedness, but the artistry of Pavone and the other musicians overflows in these ever-transforming sequences. Art does imitate life, and the musical expressions of Pavone are a microcosm of lifeís reality.

- Frank Rubilino,
All About Jazz

"Pavone's compositions lead you to a mesmerizing place where the usual mad scramble to express something 'weighty' or 'important' doesn't count for very much. Pavone's own viola solos are placed between miniatures for a glacial-sounding quartet and a warmer trio, and her deliberately paced mobile-like forms infatuate the brain while calming the pulse."

- Philip Clark,
The Wire

27 Epigrams

Jessica Pavone
27 Epigrams

Solo i

Quartet viii

Trio v

Jessica Pavone - viola
Susanne Chen - bassoon
Michael Herbst - English horn
Gil Selinger - cello
Jackson Moore - Bb clarinet
Dave Brandt - marimba

cover art: Jessica Pavone

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"The pieces on 27 Epigrams are all only about a minute or two long, which works perfectly for Pavone's style of composing. Her pieces last only as long as it takes for her to exhaust a simple idea. She sets up tiny hurdles, then leaps over them with ease: for example, a piece might consist of a short phrase played on the viola in several different octaves. Her clear, simple approach to the way the instruments she uses are actually played allows the listener to concentrate on the lovely way the notes circle around each other... Her music moves with balance and grace to spare, and few composers bother to take as much care with as few materials as she does."

- Charlie Wilmoth,
Dusted Magazine

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© Copyright 2000-2011 | Peacock Recordings | All rights reserved