Mary Ellen Childs
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Multimedia artist Mary Ellen Childs (USA, 1957) created "visual percussion" pieces for her ensemble Crash, composed ambitious scores such as Zephyrus for concert band, and event music such as Click.

Kilter (XI) groups six compositions, orginally written between 1988 and 1993. Childs' chamber music is lively and witty, while scored with scientific precision. The 11-minute Four Of One Another falls halfway between Michael Nyman's minimalist soundtracks and Stravinsky's ballet scores, plus Guy Klucevsek'a accordion. The 15-minute Parterre (1988), performed by the Relache ensemble, starts out with the whimsical square dances of the winds and with the accordion's thin chirping, then relaxes in a subdued march and finally mellows down into the almost parodistic overtones of the coda. Childs indulges herself in melodic counterpoint and intricate dynamics. Her streams of consciousness display the emotional and atmospheric eccentricity of Meredith Monk's songs, minus the human voice. The collection is rounded up by three of her more arduous and austere works: the 12-minute piano sonata The Capacity Of Calm Endurance, the accordion sonata Whistling In The Dark and the sonata for two pianos Kilter.

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