Patrick Ascione, Metamorphose d’un jaune citron. (MKCD014)

Some pieces, like Sacre du printemps, sneak up on you, sweet talking you before grabbing you by the throat or knocking you over the head and throwing you in the back of the roller coaster. Some, like Metamorphose, dispense with step one. Both are lovely ways to do music; both leave you bruised and breathless, and ready to get in line again. That’s not to say that the value of Metamorphose is merely visceral. It’s a thoughtful and tightly constructed piece that rewards repeated listenings. (I did say you’d be ready to get back in line.) Dating from 1979, Metamorphose contains many subtle, fleeting references to the thirty years of electroacoustic music that had preceded it. Indeed, one characteristic of several of Ascione’s pieces is this flirting with elecroacoustic clichés, either of theme (at the edge of quotation) or of sound. There’s not much of it, but it’s such a brave thing to do, and Ascione always handles it with such astonishing freshness and originality, that I felt I had to admire it.

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