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Thomas Simaku’s album reviewed by French magazine Classica

Thomas Simaku’s new album ‘con-ri-sonanza’, released in November 2020 by the Swedish label BIS records, has won international acclaim. Excellent reviews have been published by some of the most prestigious music magazines; the two most recent have been published in the UK and France. Following the review in the Cambridge University Press magazine Tempo in July 2021, another review has been published in the ‘Discs of the month’ column of the July-August 2021 issue of the Paris-based Classica magazine. 

French critic Romaric Gergorin begins with comments on “the impressively precise” performances of Quatuor Diotima and pianist Joseph Houston, before writing about the individual works:  

Catena I, a crystalline piece, explores the expressivity of the piano through multiple resonant echoes. Ethereal and contrapuntal, the piece unfolds into spiralling cascades of glissandi, revealing the sparkle of the glistening tones.”

“Inspired by the remnants of the Berlin Wall and a ‘Death Road’ in Albania, String Quartet No 5 is transformed into a high-pitched drilling machine, followed by acerbic bursts which evoke the chilling irony of Ligeti.”

Writing about Simaku’s pieces written in homage to Debussy and Kurtág, the critic highlights the transformation into “vertical lines and melodic gestures” of L’image oubliée d'après Debussy; whereas Hommage à Kurtàg, which is based on two notes taken from Kurtàg’s name,develops an enticing faraway world which expands from its centre”.

Con-ri-sonanza for piano & string quartet, which gives the name to the whole album,heightens the acidity of the chamber music sonority via the nuances of the piano, which holds the sound structure together.” The review concludes with String Quartet No 4, which “is organised in four revolving movements, oscillating between microtonalities and twisted harmonies, and reveals the composer’s astonishing universe, from which spouts a chiselled and driven energy.”