Neil Haverstick: Weaving




Neil Haverstick (19-tone electric guitar)


Spider (Hstick 008)


Neil Haverstick (19-tone electric guitar),

with the Colorado Chamber Orchestra


Composed by Neil Haverstick. Arranged by Thomas A. Blomster


Recorded: live at Trinity Methodist Church, Denver, CO, Oct. 12, 2008


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

"Weaving" is the second of four movements comprising Haverstick's "Spider," his “Concerto for Microtonal Guitar, Strings, and Percussion,” quite possibly the first work ever composed for orchestral strings in a 19-tone microtonal scale. The Denver-based Haverstick, in addition to being an ace blues guitarist (see review of "Birdwalk" on this website), has studied and performed microtonal music for many years.

The arrangement of "Weaving," by the Colorado Chamber Orchestra's music director Thomas A. Blomster, has the strings performing a slowly modulating atonal motif that recalls in varying degrees Stravinsky, Bartok, and Messaien. Haverstick improvises over this hypnotic framework that becomes progressively more compelling as it advances to a crescendo and then recedes over an eight-minute span. The guitarist plays short, complementary phrases that at first he repeats with slight variations, before playing rhythmically pliable patterns that accentuate the strings' more deliberate arrhythmic lines. Near the end, Haverstick turns to dissonant single notes and softly trickling runs that allow the orchestra to move to the forefront and shine. A faintly-sounded gong is a perfectly conceived closing touch. Each of the four movements of "Spider" is uniquely different, but "Weaving" seems to cast the greatest spell.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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