Bermel, Derek / Intonations (Dereck Bermel, Wiek Hijmans, JACK Quartet)
Album: Intonations (Dereck Bermel, Wiek Hijmans, JACK Quartet)   Collection:Classical
Artist:Bermel, Derek   Added:Oct 2022
Label:Naxos World  

A-File Activity
Add Date: 2023-01-28 Pull Date: 2023-04-01 Charts: Classical/Experimental
Week Ending: Apr 2 Mar 26 Mar 12 Mar 5 Feb 12 Jan 29
Airplays: 1 1 1 1 2 1

Recent Airplay
1. Apr 04, 2023: midnight love
Intonations. I. Harmonica (5:28)
4. Mar 11, 2023: Music Casserole
Thracian Sketches (7:12)
2. Apr 01, 2023: Music Casserole
Ritornello (12:33)
5. Mar 04, 2023: Music Casserole
Ritornello (12:33)
3. Mar 25, 2023: Music Casserole
Intonations. I. Harmonica (5:28)
6. Feb 11, 2023: Music Casserole
Thracian Sketches (7:12), III. Hustle (6:20)

Album Review
Gary Lemco
Reviewed 2022-10-15
Composer Bermel (b. 1967) creates eclectic, often “confrontational” pieces in which musical styles clash and merge, at will. The eponymous Intonations (2016) falls into 3 sections and features members of the JACK Quartet. The first piece celebrates the American harmonica and jazz, contrapuntally mixed. The dissonance of the first section becomes more harmonized in the Hymn section, which sounds like blues. The last section, Hustle, creates harmonica riffs while adding disparate sounds and effects that prove unnerving.
Ritornello (2011) is written for electric guitar and string quartet. The piece imitates the Concerto grosso of Baroque music, contrasting a large group against a small ensemble. There are two motifs, one “pure,” the other raunchy. The guitar work is virtuosic, both an improvisation and a cadenza. The blend reminds one of both Handel and Jimi Hendrix.
Thracian Sketches (2003) is for Bermel’s own clarinet, and it combines Bulgarian rhythm and Debussy whole-tone scales. Like a Liszt rhapsody, the music progresses slow to fast, simple to complex. The clarinet is pushed to reveal its sometimes screeching limits.
The five Violin Etudes (2009-2016) each have a descriptive title, and some refer to individuals or to ideas, as in speculative physics. “Twenty Questions”, written for Jennifer Koh, poses impulses and responses, set in the manner of sprechstimme, speech-narrative. “Gravity” literally hovers on G#. “Figure and Ground” exploits pizzicato (plucked) string work.
Multiverse/Sketch is another “minimalist” piece lingering around a single tone. “Choros” invokes Brazilian music and Villa-Lobos, athletic and rhythmical.
A Short History of the Universe (as related by Nima Arkani-Hamed) (2013) relies on a prominent Princeton physicist for its riffs on gravity and time. An opening slide (glissando) initiates a common thread for all 3 sections. The expansiveness of the moment reaches into the limitless region of infinite time and space. The virtues of the JACK Quartet are exploited for the Quartet’s capacity to create diverse effects.

Track Listing
1. Intonations. I. Harmonica (5:28)   7. No. 2. Gravity (2:43)
2. II. Hymn/Homily (6:54)   8. No. 3. Figure and Ground (2:53)
3. III. Hustle (6:20)   9. No. 4. Multiverse/Sketch (3:28)
4. Ritornello (12:33)   10. No. 5. Choros (2:29)
5. Thracian Sketches (7:12)   11. A Short History of the Universe. I. Multiverse (5:07)
6. Violin Etudes. No. 1. Twenty Questions (1:27)   12. II. Heart of Space (6:53)
  13. III. Twistor Scattering (4:46)