Country : Canada Label : Redshift Genres and styles : Contemporary Year : 2024

Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa – Known & UnKnown: Solo Piano Works by Rodney Sharman

· by Frédéric Cardin

Rodney Sharman is a Vancouver-based Canadian composer born in 1958. His music is regularly performed around the world, but curiously few albums are devoted entirely to him. Here, then, is a notable recording that presents us with a bouquet of compositions woven from the same thread. Indeed, all the pieces on Known & UnKnown revisit, disguise and even camouflage existing, well-known melodies in totally unrecognizable guises. They range from opera to musical comedy (Sondheim in Notes on Beautiful), from a birthday song (Canonic Toccata… for Michael Finnissy) to Bach’s Ich Habe Genug (Known and Unknown). Even Quebec’s Claude Vivier is invited with a subtle rewriting of Kopernikus (Wounded). 

There’s a Feldmanian delicacy to Sharman’s atonal yet poetic and intimate, sparse, writing. Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa delves in it with great care and finesse, offering a generous reading of an important but, in my humble opinion, largely underrepresented national artist. It’s a well-deserved tribute to one of her own that the Vancouver label Redshift pays here. 

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