Classical CD Reviews

JOHN FITZ ROGERS/MICHAEL NICOLELLA Transit

(Gale)

One thing is for certain: This recording will engender strong reactions. Some listeners will nod their heads in agreement with the liner notes' pretentious prose, which suggests that this collaboration between John Fitz Rogers and Michael Nicolella provides "an electrifying sonic network of speed and synthesis, a forty-four minute panorama of intangible miracles." Others will find themselves screaming at Transit's dizzying drive, specifically sections like the three-and-a-half-minute "V," which begins with frenzied programmed sounds— resembling a recording sped up halfway to infinity—and ends with Nicolella's electric guitar joining in to further hammer the point home.

With Transit, composer Fitz Rogers, who credits Led Zeppelin, the Steve Miller Band, and Jimi Hendrix as influences, weds his computer-generated organs, pianos, and drums to the astounding musicianship of Nicolella. Playing an assortment of guitars, the Seattle-based Nicolella proves himself a virtuoso wonder. Transit begins slowly with several minutes of quasi-celestial electronic sound. Once the guitar enters, however, the mood changes, as the conflict and chaos of earthbound existence rise to the fore. Some will groove to this music's unapologetic juxtapositions; others will run for cover, invoking the names of Bach, Mozart, and the entire Hindu panoply. Either way, or both, Transit must be heard. JASON SERINUS

Michael Nicolella performs his Concerto for Classical Guitar and Chamber Orchestra at Benaroya Hall at 8 p.m. on Sat., June 29. Call 292-ARTS for info.

 
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