Huntley Dent has added Nadia Shpachenko’s Invasion: Music and Art for Ukraine to Fanfare‘s “Not To Be Missed” list!
“Calling upon her friend and sometime collaborator, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan, Shpachenko commissioned Invasion, which is scored for piano and chamber ensemble. My expectations of grim, angry music were overturned by Invasion, whose three sections, lasting 12 minutes, don’t echo the stark bleakness of wartime Shostakovich, or any other war music I can think of. Instead, Spratlan has concocted a dream-like musical experience that looks into a cultural mirror.… the layers are simultaneously like Kurt Weill cabaret, drummers marching to war, drunken slip-sliding, a pianist trying to compete with artillery shelling, and the resilience of music-hall song and dance in the face of a black midnight. What makes Invasion specifically tailored to this release, whose proceeds are being donated to Ukrainian aid relief, is the very absence of unrelieved sorrow… The result shines with color and many more rays of hope than despair.… one of the first and most fascinating responses to events in Ukraine…I was moved by the humane intentions behind this album, and yet it would be a shame to overlook Wonderer just because it falls outside the realm of current events. For all their differences, Spratlan has written two remarkable works in both Invasion and Wonderer. Anyone enticed by my descriptions will be amply rewarded listening to this release, which is the outstanding contemporary-music disc of the year.”—Huntley Dent, Fanfare