Christopher Butterfield — Souvenir (performed by Aventa Ensemble)

Out: March 31st, 2023 on Redshift Records (CD/ DL)
Genres: Modern Composition; Large Ensemble

Redshift Records : WEB | BANDCAMP

Victoria, British Columbia-based composer Christopher Butterfield follows his acclaimed collaboration with Quatuor Bozzini, 2017’s Trip, with Souvenir. The disc showcases hisdexterous and utterly unconventional handling of ensemble colour as well as his irrefutable personality. Each of its four constituent, expertly performed by veteran new music ensemble Aventa,  unfolds vibrant aural scenery built from knotty contrapuntal figures and an ever-changing instrumental palette.  Their animated gestures ricochet off of one another in a boisterous yet playful debate where tensions seldom resolve. Although this wild, abstract banter acts as the album’s through-line, Butterfield’s acute sense of restraint and balance carves out breath and generates variety throughout. Encompassing everything from a homage to Walter Benjamin to a wayward vibraphone concerto, Souvenir is full of surprising turns and oblique references.

Once praised as “highly original” by the late “Blue” Gene Tyranny, Butterfield’s professional trajectory has remained staunchly unconventional. In addition to partnerships with several noted interpreters, his career has variously included a recording of Kurt Schwitters’ legendary sound-poem Ursonate, collaboration with John Oswald, a residency with the Victoria Symphony, and installations with Sandra Meigs He has  adjudicated for theInternational Gaudeamus Composition Competition and taught at the Ostrava Days Institute, in addition to holding an associate professorship at University of Victoria since 1996.  Butterfield studiedcomposition with Czech-Canadian iconoclast Rudolf Komorous at the University of Victoria, BC, and Turkish-American composer Bülent Arel at Stony Brook University, NY.  His work has appeared on releases from CBC Records, Artifact, and Editions Wandelweiser.

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