"Chimeras" is a bristling, organic work, despite being based on the same heady compositional theory as lipograms (literary works in which the author purposefully avoids using one particular letter; Zorn purposefully avoids using one particular pitch in each of the 12 movements here). Certainly, the composition is successful, but the truly gifted ensemble employed to perform the piece -- driven primarily by the voice of Ilana Davidson and some rather unique combinations of celesta, gong, flute, cello and clarinet -- is what gives the album its excitement. Though he's long been attacking classical composition from an academic standpoint (with some expectedly dry results), Chimeras is precisely the kind of work a theory geek/improviser like Zorn excels in.
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