Wayne Alpern | Rezurrektion Review
Rezurrektion: A Timeless Odyssey of Musical Renewal by Wayne Alpern
by Illiam Sebitz
“Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.” This Edward Bulwer-Lytton quote comes to mind as I delve into Wayne Alpern’s latest offering, Rezurrektion. Like a master painter repurposing classical shades with modern hues, Alpern transcends time by crafting a bridge between the antique and the avant-garde, connecting centuries with mere semiquavers.
Within the soundscape of Rezurrektion, the virtuosity and synergy of the Sirius Quartet cannot be overstated. Comprising Chern Hwe Fung’s poignant strains on the first violin, juxtaposed with Gregor Huebner’s emotive articulations on the second, the quartet’s stringed harmony is further deepened by Ron Lawrence’s resonant viola and Jeremy Harmon’s robust cello undertones. Their collective mastery serves Alpern’s compositions justice and elevates them, breathing life and vigor into each note. Their intricate interplay and dynamic range, from the subtlest pizzicato to the most passionate bow strikes, add layers of depth and dimension to the album. While Alpern’s compositions are the soul of Rezurrektion, the Sirius Quartet is undeniably its beating heart, rendering each piece with precision, emotion, and a profound understanding of the music’s contemporary and classical nuances.
Classical music’s very foundation often revolves around the relationship between the tonic and the dominant. Within Rezurrektion, Alpern toys with this foundation, extending and sometimes teasingly avoiding resolutions. In tracks such as “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”, he introduces unexpected harmonic progressions, weaving the familiar motifs of Mozart with the unexpected jazz-inflected tonal shifts, reminiscent of how Debussy might approach his tonic-dominant relationships. There’s a push and pull, a tantalizing dance of anticipation and satisfaction that can only be achieved by a true master of harmonic flow and voicings.
Alpern demonstrates his mastery over the motif – the slightest recognizable musical idea. Mozart’s themes are evident but frequently surrounded by or blended with snippets from other periods and genres. The very essence of recomposition is evident as Alpern takes these motifs and embroiders them with his own intricate designs, creating an elaborate conjoining of sound.
A track that particularly stands out in its rhythmic innovation is “C Major Sonata.” While the original piece by Mozart has its cadence and elegance, Alpern infuses it with syncopation and introduces rhythmic elements of jazz, Afro-Caribbean, and contemporary classical paradigms. This rhythmic fusion is the modern-day response to the classical era’s rhythmic structures.
Throughout the album, Alpern showcases a profound understanding of classical form while simultaneously dismantling and rebuilding it. His use of extended techniques, ranging from pizzicato to bow strikes, doesn’t just serve as ornamentation. They represent structural pillars, transforming the classical sonata-allegro or ternary form, evolving them into something entirely new yet hauntingly familiar.
Drawing from classical literature, Alpern’s album reminds me of the Phoenix in its cycle of death and rebirth. The familiar melodies of Mozart, Larson/Grieg, Ellington, and Gershwin represent the ashes, and from these ashes, Alpern conjures a majestic bird, resplendent in its new form, yet bearing the soul of its predecessor. His music doesn’t just play; it breathes, it lives.
In Rezurrektion, Wayne Alpern demonstrates that while musical notes may be finite, the possibilities they hold are infinite. Each track, while a tribute to the genius of yore, is also a demonstration of Alpern’s own genius. Like the sculptures of Michelangelo, where every chisel strike revealed the form within the marble, Alpern carves out his own niche, revealing the contemporary within the classical.
In essence, Wayne Alpern’s Rezurrektion is a poignant reimagining of musical sentiments—a spiritual odyssey spanning temporal bounds. It invites listeners on an expedition through musical epochs while remaining firmly anchored in the present. The album epitomizes a harmonious blend of reverence for tradition coupled with fervent modern innovation. It promises not just an auditory experience, but a profound emotional voyage for those who don’t merely listen, but deeply resonate with music.
Release Date: September 15, 2023
Label: Henri Elkan Music
About the author
Born and raised in a picturesque European village, my fondness for music began during my formative years, when the charismatic tones of the recorder first filled the halls of my primary school. This early fascination escalated into my lifelong pursuit of embracing the melodious charm of the flute; I have even spent time refining my skills at a music conservatoire. As a seasoned music connoisseur, I find myself captivated by the multifaceted world of music. I enjoy writing music reviews to better enable me to explore genres as diverse as world, rock, jazz, classical, folk, and film music, each offering a unique auditory journey that enriches my life and intellect.
In my spare moments, you'll likely find me meticulously crafting my latest woodworking project, sharpening my skills with flute etudes, or inventing tales of fantasy through the art of creative writing. My eclectic interests and expertise harmonize to create a symphony of passion and curiosity that resonates within every aspect of my life as a music enthusiast.