ICE on CD

06.03.11
Matthias Pintscher
Chicago Reader

By Peter Margasak

More challenging and more rewarding than the Adams disc is a new album featuring the work of the German composer Matthias Pintscher. ICE performed a program of his music at New York's Miller Theatre last October and within a day or two the superb Kairos label asked ICE to record some of the pieces, including Sonic Eclipse. On the first movement of that piece, trumpeter Gareth Flowers blows unpitched breaths through his instrument, a technique widely used in free improvisation these days (pioneered by folks like Axel Dörner and Greg Kelley). The first two parts of the composition, "Celestial Object I" and "Celestial Object II," are solo features, respectively, for Flowers and French horn player David Byrd-Marrow, and the third movement, "Occultation," superimposes elements from the first two parts—the "eclipse"—with passages both in sharp registration and general opposition. An earlier work called "A Twilight's Song" features soprano Marisol Montalvo singing the poem of the same name by E.E. Cummings (the Miller concert featured ICE soprano Tony Arnold, who performs at Saturday's MCA event), and a performance of the intense choral piece She-Cholat Ahavah Ani (Shir Ha-Shirim V) by SWT Vokalensemble Stuttgart rounds out the CD,