Collections of works written and performed by Nathalie Joachim and Philip Glass, and a recording of Handel’s “Alcina,” are among the highlights.
Nathalie Joachim: ‘Ki moun ou ye’
Nathalie Joachim, vocals and flutes; Yvonne Lam, violin, viola; Jason Treuting, drums (Nonesuch/New Amsterdam)
On March 18, Carnegie Hall will present a new work of Nathalie Joachim’s, “I’m Right Here,” written for the chamber group Ensemble Connect. Other pieces by this composer and flutist can be found on some choice contemporary music recitals. But her biggest statements thus far have been albums released under her own name.
Her latest effort is “Ki moun ou ye,” which translates literally from Haitian Creole to “Which person are you?” Joachim’s answer to that question involves a stylistic multiplicity that allows for movement between pop and chamber music sounds, and a lot of studio overdubbing. On the title track, listeners are greeted with glitchy vocal samples before Joachim puts new elements into the gestalt, and quickly. In the opening minute, there is playing from the violinist and violist Yvonne Lam and forceful acoustic percussion from the drummer Jason Treuting. Later, after a short diminuendo featuring Joachim’s gorgeous live singing and those choppy, sampled vocals, the full-band dynamic returns, now with fiery lines from Joachim’s flute.
“Ki moun ou ye” keeps doing this — paring back before pressing forward with fresh urgency — while maintaining an easygoing vibe. Near the end, on “Ti nèg,” Joachim contrasts a peaceable tone with what the album’s liner notes describe as an effort to reclaim “the etymology of the N word.” The work is instructive without being didactic; Joachim finds beauty not in hiding from tension, but by keeping it in view as she sings and plays with joy. SETH COLTER WALLS
‘Philip Glass Solo’
Philip Glass, piano (Orange Mountain Music)
Like everyone else, Philip Glass was stuck at home during the pandemic. And like many composers, he took the opportunity to reconnect with his own music, playing the piano every day and noting how his approach to the works he’d written on it had changed over the years. He ended up capturing that period of suspension in this album, which was recorded in May 2021 at his home in Manhattan.