J. Pavone String Ensemble

Brick and Mortar

BY Kevin PressPublished Oct 4, 2019

Jessica Pavone was desperate to learn the violin, but at only age three, it took some convincing for her to win parental support — two years of it in fact. The Brooklyn-based composer and performer has since earned an international reputation for producing advanced work in multiple genres.
This new from her string ensemble, featuring Pavone and Abby Swidler on viola, and violinists Erica Dicker and Angela Morris, includes five new works.
These pieces are fairly compact, at least in comparison to lengthy works she's produced for solo viola. But while nothing lasts longer than about nine minutes, there is a kind of grandiosity to each composition that distinguishes the album from other string-quartet recordings.
A particular highlight comes on the album's second piece, "Lullaby and Goodnight." After a luxurious détaché opening, the quartet employs a phased shift to increasingly lengthy legato strokes and then back again, all inside seven-and-a-half minutes. Next, we're presented the album's title piece, with richly detailed drones.
Early in her career, Pavone developed an interest in improvisation, as well as long-tone, repetitive works. She felt constrained by the formal training she so eagerly signed up for, which helps explain her impressive discography and touring schedule.

Latest Coverage