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American Classics - Moe: Strange Exclaiming Music, Etc / Macomber, Gosling, Et Al

Release Date: 07/28/2009 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559612   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Eric Moe
Performer:  Curtis MacomberStephen GoslingMichael LipseyBruce Weinberger,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  DoublePlay Percussion DuoColumbus State University Percussion EnsembleNew York Saxophone Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

MOE Strange Exclaiming Music. 1 Teeth of the Sea. 2 Rough Winds Do Shake the Darling Buds. 3 _down the stream, merrily. 4 I Have Only One Itching Desire. 5 Flex Time. 6 Market Forces 7 Curtis Macomber (vn); Read more class="SUPER12">1,6 Stephen Gosling (pn); 1 Michael Limpey (perc); 2 Raschèr Sax Qrt; 3 DoublePlay Perc Duo; 4 Paul Vaillancourt, cond; 5 Columbus St Univ Perc Ens; 5 New York Sax Qrt 7 NAXOS 8.559612 (64.55)

Here is a challenge, indeed. How to describe this wonderfully inventive, often joyful, occasionally melancholy, highly rhythmic, frequently irreverent, absolutely eclectic, and always high-octane music? Read the titles. Check the instrumentation. No tuxes and evening dresses here, folks. This is “classical” music for those who revel in the ingenious and the uncommon. Eric Moe is professor of composition and theory at the University of Pittsburgh. He codirects a new-music series called Music on the Edge. Another CD of his works is called “Kicking and Screaming.” Indeed. There is something almost graphic novel about these works: serious aims with pop means, and a quirky sense of humor. I bet his composition classes are a hoot—unless perhaps one is incompetent. That steely gaze and shaved head in the booklet photo suggest a no-nonsense drill sergeant more than a long-suffering professor. Or maybe not. He is smiling winningly on the Web site.

Speaking of which, here is what he says there about his music: “Eric Moe’s music has been variously described as ‘maximal minimalism,’ ‘Rachmaninoff in hell,’ and ‘music of winning exuberance.’ The New York Times says [ sic ] recently that Moe ‘subversively inscribe[s] classical music into pop culture.’” Although the surfaces and genres are varied, his works share a concern for rhythmic propulsion and a disregard for stylistic orthodoxies. Sometimes tonal, sometimes not, harmony (generally crunchy) and melody (often angular) play privileged roles in his work.” That gives one some idea.

This is music without boundaries. Strange Exclaiming Music starts out sounding like a Bach unaccompanied violin sonata, but before long it has become demented swing, wistfully romantic, edgily Bartókian; it takes off like a Nancarrow piano roll, adds a touch of Stravinsky, slips into a elegiac reverie, and fades away without ever really resolving. And that is just the first movement. This sounds patchwork, but it is not. The work is completely organic. Transitions are entirely unforced, the moods and styles somehow complementary. The last movement, “Sorbet of Regret,” is as lovely a movement for violin and piano as one can imagine, with decidedly modern harmonic wanderings, but an unabashedly nostalgic essence.

The other works are as varied as the composer’s many influences. Teeth of the Sea (the translation of the Italian title for the movie Jaws ) is a three-and-one-half minute tone poem for congas. Rough Winds Do Shake the Darling Buds revels in the wide expressive abilities of the saxophone, the gale and the endangered blossoms both deftly characterized. And down the stream, merrily bubbles exuberantly on two marimbas. I Have Only One Itching Desire starts with a drum lick from a Jimi Hendix song and freely develops in the style of African drumming, with a little jazz and rock thrown in. Flex Time is an imaginative set of transformations for solo violin on an unlikely theme. Market Forces uses traditional musical structures, like the sonata form, in decidedly non-traditional ways. It is all unpredictable, all very engaging. The performers are splendid, the sound uniformly fine. All I can say is that when the CD was over, it left me wanting Moe.

FANFARE: Ronald E. Grames
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Works on This Recording

Strange Exclaiming Music by Eric Moe
Performer:  Curtis Macomber (Violin), Stephen Gosling (Piano)
Length: 17 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Notes: Producer: Judith Sherman.
Engineer: Judith Sherman. 
Teeth of the Sea by Eric Moe
Performer:  Michael Lipsey (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  DoublePlay Percussion Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2003; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Notes: Producer: Judith Sherman.
Engineer: Judith Sherman. 
Rough winds do shake the darling tree by Eric Moe
Performer:  Bruce Weinberger (Tenor Saxophone), Elliot Riley (Alto Saxophone), Kenneth Coon (Baritone Saxophone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbus State University Percussion Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 11 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Notes: Producer: Christoph Martin Frommen.
Engineer: Christoph Martin Frommen.
Editor: Uwe Hoffman. 
Down the stream, merrily by Eric Moe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  DoublePlay Percussion Duo,  New York Saxophone Quartet
Length: 2 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Notes: Producer: Judith Sherman.
Engineer: Judith Sherman. 
I have only one itching desire by Eric Moe
Length: 9 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Notes: Producer: Eric Moe.
Engineer: Brad Palmer.
Editor: Eric Moe. 
Flex time by Eric Moe
Performer:  Curtis Macomber (Violin)
Length: 4 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Notes: Producer: Judith Sherman.
Engineer: Judith Sherman. 
Market forces by Eric Moe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Saxophone Quartet
Length: 15 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: Producer: Judith Sherman.
Engineer: Judith Sherman. 

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