Unusual but rewarding chamber music for open ears for the adventurously inquisitive, a 24- minute contemporary work for soprano, guitar, violin, saxophones, bassoon or contrabassoon, and “digital acoustics” is a welcome opportunity. Performed by an ensemble centered on singer Nancy King and guitarist RobertNathanson, trading as Duo Surenõ , Out of Darkness into Light by William Neil presents a text by Malgosia Sawczuk, in which the writer “hears” the words of her unborn child. The content is almost disturbing at times, but culminates in the triumph of birth. King is a commanding custodian of the vocal part, while Nathanson’s clear and fluent guitar lines, ranging from sparse ostinatos to bursts of chordal energy, provide the harmonic foundation. Neil’s music is challenging yet never without shape, the experience being both intense and uplifting.
Paul Fowles CLASSICAL GUITAR
William Neil’s phantasmagorical Out of Darkness into Light, is a twenty-four-minute dramatic scena of operatic weight, if not length. (Neil was, for a time, composer-in-residence at the Chicago Lyric Opera.) The text is by art restorer Malgosia Sawczuk, who wrote it while working in a Chicago church, while pregnant. Trust me, the text is illuminating and powerful regarding both of these experiences. The Duo (Rob Nathanson, guitar and Nancy King, soprano, is joined by violinist Danijela Zezelj-Gualdi and by Laurent Estoppey on a variety of saxophones. Helena Kopchick Spencer on bassoons, and the composer on “digital acoustics.” As you can imagine, the range of sonic experiences is astounding but always illuminates the music and the drama. Soprano Nancy King is extraordinary. This is a work that cries out for performance whenever the musical forces and an open-minded audience can be found. -Al Kunze SOUNDBOARD