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CHASMS-OMENS-SHARDS-SPELLS A Genre-Defying Ten-Piece Suite from Israeli Jazz Pianist Alon Nechustan

September 29, 2023

Alon Nechushtan’s new album, CHASMS-OMENS-SHARDS-SPELLS, is an experimental ten-piece suite recorded by musicians from all over the world. Centered around themes of individuality, freedom, and the wild mystery of nature, the suite weaves different narratives and genres, exploring stories and sounds from the distant past to an imagined future. To listen, and for more information, please visit http://musicalon.com/chasms/.

CHASMS-OMENS-SHARDS-SPELLS is through-composed, taking its audience on a journey using an expressive array of improvisation methods, including aleatoric composition, sonorous effects, intricate and inventive chordal harmonies, among other devices. Every performance is a unique event, with its own contribution to the suite as a whole. The album was performed live by orchestras from the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. CHASMS-OMENS-SHARDS-SPELLS roams between classical, folk, jazz, contemporary improvisation, and the avant-garde.


1. SECRET SECT 13min
Commissioned by Tel Aviv Soloist Orchestra
Conducted by Barak Tal
Secret Sect is written for a string orchestra with a featured string quartet. Inspired by a short story by Jorge Luis Borges, the first piece starts like a subsonic burst of murmurs and appearances, but develops into a story, following a conflict of interests between the protagonist and a group trying to lead him into battle, and the complications of maintaining a secret cult.

Commissioned by Tel Aviv Soloist Orchestra
Conducted by Barak Tal
Ancient Landscape is shaped as a pastoral, with a protagonist embodied by a flute and a pair of horns. The hero sweeps the orchestra into a grand Cana’anite dance, whose mood and spirit hints to the location: the ancient Middle East.

Commissioned by the Phillipine-Philharmonic-Orchestra
Conducted by Chino Toledo
Trismegistus is written for clarinet and orchestra based on the mythological figure of Trismegistus: a legendary hero of ancient myth and mysticism. The story centers on the struggle between the protagonist and the authorities that hunt him.

Commissioned by the New England Conservatory Orchestra
Conducted by Marcin Bela
Cloud-Pillar is written for chamber orchestra and steps back into biblical times, portraying a day’s journey in the life of an ancient Israelite: hunting, praying, dancing and rejoicing. The percussion section here is a dominant element, representing the mystical spirits. The texture of the compositions augments and diminishes like a cloud formation.

Commissioned by Jerusalem Academy Orchestra
Conducted by Avner Biron
The Garden of Forking Path is written for a cello solo and a string orchestra and closes a circle with the first piece, also drawing its inspiration from the writer Jorge Luis Borges, and telling the story of a spy jailed inside a maze which draws him across our world to a strange, limitless otherworldly plane that defies the flow of time.

Commissioned by M.I.T Festival Orchestra
Conducted by Fredrick Harris
Frost and Fire is orchestrated for a big band. Based on short story by Ray Bradbury, our protagonist here is born in a futuristic, cold planet where all human beings have only one week of life. The rhythmic pulses provided by the orchestra mark time running backwards, and the improvised sections mark the resourcefulness and creativity of our protagonist who races against a stopwatch moving towards an inevitable zero point.

Cyclone, Storm King, Indian Trail is an inner suite which pays a homage to composer Charles Ives’ Three Places in New England. Each of these meditations pays a tribute to a different New York landscape. While Cyclone emulates the raucous hustle of Coney Island at night, Storm King remains stoic, revealing a vast meadow of breathtaking nature and the traveling folk who’ve come to visit it. Indian Trail concludes the suite, paying tribute to the indigenous, connecting the upper Hudson and beyond.

7.CYCLONE 4min
Commissioned by SLEE SYNFONIETTA
Conducted by Matt Chamberlain

Commissioned by SLEE SYNFONIETTA
Conducted by Matt Chamberlain

Commissioned by SLEE SYNFONIETTA
Conducted by Matt Chamberlain

10. LOOSE WINDS 12min
Commissioned by Manhattan Wind Ensemble
Conducted by Sarah Fernandez
Loose Winds is orchestrated for a unique two orchestras: A Wind Ensemble and an Andalus Ensemble (a Unique Middle-Eastern group of Solo instruments specializing in performance of music of the Andalus Period) containing the Nei, Daf ,Riq, Darbuka, Qanun, Oud, Arabic Fiddle, Accordion, Bass, and vocal) and is based on music inspired three hot Summer Middle-Eastern winds: the ‘Hamseen’ ( hot steaming wind), the Simoom (A desert wind of sand and dust), and the Sharqi (A typhoon-like storm that comes and goes to different regions of the Arab Peninsula).

About Alon Nechustan
Described by DownBeat Magazine as “a talent to watch, with a surfeit of ideas, an unbridled spirit and bold, two-fisted sense of architecture,” composer and jazz pianist Alon Nechustan’s musical adventures have brought him all over the world. Over the course of career, Nechustan’s contemporary compositions have brought him to far corners such as the Yokohama Festival Japan, The Sao-Paolo Brazil Jewish Music Festival with his quintet, Talat, Toronto, Manila with his concerto for the Philippine Symphony Orchestra, and the Tel Aviv New Music Biennale. The Tel Aviv-born musician is a proud resident of New York City, and has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Central Park Summer Stage, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, The Blue Note Jazz Club and Joe’s Pub. All About Jazz Magazine has called him “a fantastic pianist-composer with abundant chemistry and boundless eclecticism.” He has released solo recordings on various leading recording labels, including Enja (Germany), MGN (Netherlands), Tzadik (USA), BuckyBall (USA), Creative Sources (Portugal), Between the Lines (Netherland), and Ayler (Sweden). www.musicalon.com


September 29, 2023


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