Michael Ellison Invocation

Composer Michael Ellison isn't fooling around. His "String Quartet #2" has the melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and emotional depth of late Beethoven or Bartok. The seven-movement piece evolves gracefully, using thematic material that reappears transformed, but with haunting familiarity. Borromeo String Quartet gives the 35-minute composition the kind of committed performance that would surely bring a smile to the composer's face. Full of dynamic subtleties, finely shaded changes in timbre and passionately engaged ensemble playing, the piece resonates with the eloquent emotion the composer wove into the fabric of this gorgeous composition. "Invocation-Meditation-Allegro" for solo flute shows Ellison's involvement with Turkish Sufi music, with its ney-like sonorities brought to life by the virtuoso performance of Helen Bledsoe. Finally, "Elif" is an amazing synthesis of a master hafiz (a reciter of the Quran) and new music. The result is otherworldly, a mystical atmosphere of devotion and its transformation of consciousness. Invocation illustrates the depth of Ellision's commitment to absorbing Turkish spiritual music and the Sufi quest for transcendence and union with the beloved. Recommended. (Innova)