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CD Review: Ryan Scott and Esprit Orchestra embrace Maki Ishii challenge

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Ryan Scott, percussion

Alex Pauk, conductor

Esprit Orchestra


One of the great joys of going to a concert featuring percussion is watching the soloists’ choreography, which is as much a part of the performance as the almost limitless variety of sound and tone they can produce.

Torontonian Ryan Scott is a master, and he displays the full range of his incredible bodily control and subtle shaping of each sound in three pieces by  Japanese composer Maki Ishii: Saidoki (Demon), for percussion and orchestra, written in 1989; Concertante for Marimba Solo and 6 percussionists, written for Les Percussions de Strasbourg; and a 1992 percussion Concerto, “South – Fire – Summer.”

There are many hours of re-listening needed here to savour every little detail of these pieces, nicely backed up by Toronto’s Esprit Orchestra and led by their music director, Alex Pauk. Each piece was recorded at a different time, but the sound quality is excellent.

All that said, the choreography is invisible here. So, I would suggest checking out Scott and the Esprit Orchestra on Nov. 30, in a program that features the Percussion Concerto. Details here.

The disc itself is being launched on Tuesday (Nov. 22) at the Japan Foundation. Details here.

John Terauds

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