"What is an improvising duo doing on your classical blog?", someone may be asking. The answer is that Radical Cycle (Dani Oore, soprano saxophone, and Sageev Oore, piano) (self-released) are doing something most unusual. They have taken a diverse collection of art songs from the classical repertoire (by Puccini, Bartok, Ives, Berg, Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, Richard Strauss) and combined them (literally), reharmonized them or altered the melody lines and improvised around them for a rather stunning continuous re-composition/re-performance. They refer to it as a "remix" though there is no manipulation of the recorded sound. All is live.
It's a genuine revelation what they do here. The musicianship and invention that went into Radical Cycle are of a very high level and very gratifying to hear. A sense of "anything can happen" comes to the forefront as one listens. Strains of klezmer mingle readily with Schumann, all kinds of disparate blends are achieved in ways that sound totally right even if they at first startle one with their novelty. The improvisational element is masterful, not referring to swing or bop musical vocabulary but achieving flow, continuity and skillfully weaving harmonic and melodic elements with a sure ear and execution.
It's music that stays with you, rather unforgettable, especially if you already know the art songs in their original form. Excellent!