How "Amjad" fits with Bryars' penchant for using found material (Hommages) or updating extant musics (Oi Me Lasso) is -- to me anyway -- an especially interesting consideration here. Drawing back to the Duchamp-inspired period of audio "readymades" that engendered the still and frankly always beautiful "Hommages" to his more recent and moving refresh of Medieval Lauds, the idea to remake/remodel Tchaikovsky is, within this aesthetic, easily a lock.
Few composers have become so adept at incorporating the ideas of the 20th or for that matter the 9th century into such a thoroughly contemporary and profound aesthetic. And Bryars does so in an individualistic manner that encourages the listener -- through the perfection of this work -- to immediately understand and embrace the enduring value of musical thinking: Always and forever and necessarily set free of technological or period constraint and temporal (dis)colouration.
I've not been a consistent listener to Tchaikovsky -- his style has always struck me as certainly far more lush and extravagant than that of Bryars -- so consequently a significant component of what makes "Amjad" so compelling is, for the present, lost to me. Unlike the more familiar (again, to me) source material of "Lauds" that drive the profoundly contemporized pieces that comprise "Oi Me Lasso", Tchaikovsky's work is a decidedly more complicated proposal. But as a long-time listener to Bryars I can confidently claim some awareness of style and purpose and result. And, as has become so gratefully typical of Bryars, this work is full of delicacy, surprise, humor, contrast and depth (no short shrift aimed at Lang). The beauty is in fact beauty as Duchamp might define it, free of prettiness and sentimentality and suffused with ballast for the intellect. And finally, in a gesture that demonstrates the efficacy of Bryars' work, I will now embark on a listening tour of the source material, and deliberately expose myself to another facet of compositional thought.