Jason Kao Hwang/Spontaneous River - Symphony of Souls
by Wilbert Sostre
November 6, 2011
Jason Kao Hwang Spontaneous River, based in New York City is an Orchestra of 37 string improvisers plus a drum set. Symphony of Souls a composition divided in eleven movements, is a spontaneous flow of notated passages and conducted improvisations.
The first movement has a dramatic, suspenseful feel. The second movement has elements of rock. The drum beat on the third movement feels like a march but the melodies has influences of mediterranean music. The fourth movement retakes the suspense of the first but with an arabic influence this time. The fifth movement is the closest to a classical composition. The dissonances, and intensity on this one adds to the dramatic effect of the music. More dissonances, improvisation and kind of a gypsy feel distinguish the sixth movement. The percussive sounds of the drums takes center stage in the seventh movement. The eight movement is slow but contains lots of interesting improvisations. The ninth is another movement heavily influenced by rock music and the tenth movement feels like a continuation of the ninth, with improvised variation played over the same tempo. The eleventh is the jazzier of all the movements maintaining the dramatic feel of the whole symphony.
Jason Kao Hwang - Composer/violin/viola. Andrew Drury - drums, Trina Basu, Sarah Bernstein, Charles Burnham, Julianne Carney, Mark Chung, Fung Chern Hwei, Rosi Hertlein, Elektra Kurtis, Gwen Laster, Marlene Rice, Dave Soldier, Curtis Stewart, Midori Yamamoto, Helen Yee - violin, Leanne Darling, Nicole Federici, Judith Insell, Eric Salazar, David Wallace - viola, Cristian Amigo, Bradley Farberman, James Keepnews, Dom Minasi, David Ross, Tor Snyder, Hans Tammen - guitar, Martha Colby, Loren Dempster, Daniel Levin, Tomas Ulrich, Shanda Wooley - cello, Michael Bisio, Ken Fliano, Francois Grillot, James Ilgenfritz, Clifton Jackson, Tom Zlabinger - string bass
- Wilbert Sostre, Jazz Times, November 6, 2011