23 November 2014


I have written here before, at least in dribs and drabs, about all the things I don't have in common with people who come from a rock background, but one thing we do have in common is a growing discontent with the sound palette of the traditional classical orchestra. I myself am a player who sticks to traditional tone production quite a lot of the time, and yet there is more to this question than just that, including but not limited to rooms, recording techniques, and instrumentation. I also seldom miss an opportunity to disavow audiophilia, but admittedly this is largely an audiophile's dilemma: on the rare occasion I can summon the willpower to launch an investigation into the latest flavor-of-the-month orchestral composer, I often come away with even stronger (usually negative) impressions of the "sound" than of the piece(s).

The name Djuro Zivkovic has been circulating, and perhaps it brings hope. None of the pieces I've listened to thus far have disappointed, and I've just realized a primary reason for this: they make me forget that I've ever lamented the limitations of traditional instruments, tone production, or recording techniques vis-a-vis contemporary music. Certainly there is still much to be done in waking the orchestral world from its timbral slumber. Even so, it's good to be reminded that the usefulness of any tool depends almost entirely on the skill with which it is wielded.

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