in Teaching Others We Teach Ourselves
Violist Nadia Sirota has a strong presence on New York's contemporary music scene. She’s played with numerous artists, including Meredith Monk and Alarm Will Sound; she also hosts an Internet radio show on WQXR. And in 2009, she released her highly praised debut, First Things First. On the follow-up, Baroque, Sirota performs pieces written for her by five young composers. She worked closely with producer Valgeir Sigurosson, who provided electronic processing on the album. Judd Greenstein’s “In Teaching Others We Teach Ourselves” is for seven violas. Sirota dubbed all of the parts; the layers of arco and pizzicato create a sound world that's lyrical, lush, and charged with post-minimalist energy. Missy Mazzoli's “Tooth and Nail” at times displays the rhythmic drive of baroque music, and the piece incorporates bass lines that recall organ pedal tones. Calm, baroque-like organ comes into play on Nico Muhly’s “Etude 3,” but the mood is complicated by an agitated viola. The closing track is Daniel Bjarnason’s concerto-derived “Sleep Variations,” in which Sirota’s playing has been edited into a dazzling composition.