Jacob Druckman’s “Prism”
Notes by TŌN cellist Sam Boundy
Jacob Druckman’s Prism combines tradition and innovation in a set of three movements, each honoring another composer’s interpretation of a centuries old myth. Prism references the dark Greek myth of Medea and Jason through references to the operas of Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Francesco Cavalli, and Luigi Cherubini. Although the myth is old, Druckman’s work explores new sonic timbres and textures that breathe life back into the deadly tales of Medea. Druckman quotes themes and textures from each opera, but through a contemporary filter that sometimes changes the voicing and even intonation found in each original piece. Most ear-catching to me is the glissandi found throughout the second movement that skew the listener’s sense of pitch, while adding twang to the frail-textured movement. Pitch bends, unusual combinations of instruments, and many more of Druckman’s compositional techniques resurrect an ancient Greek Myth through a modern lens. Prism is 22 minutes of fresh air.