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A Tent For The Sun

Pann / Kellogg / Mcmurray / Takacs Quartet
Release Date: 02/23/2010 
Label:  Klavier Records   Catalog #: 11179   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Carter PannDaniel Kellogg
Performer:  Carter Pann
Conductor:  Allan McMurray
Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Colorado Wind Symphony
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

PANN Serenade . Concerto Logic 1. KELLOGG A Tent for the Sun. 2 Pyramus and Thisbe 3 Allan McMurray, cond; U of Colorado Wind S; 1 Carter Pann (pn); 2 Takács St Qrt; 3 Patrick Mason (spkr) Read more class="BULLET12b">• KLAVIER K11179 (74:08)

This disc could be subtitled A University of Colorado Family Album . All of the performers and both of the featured composers are residents of that university’s college of music. The composers, Carter Pann and Daniel Kellogg, have a good deal in common in addition to their respective positions at the university. Both have studied with Joseph Schwantner, both are of the same generation, and despite the fact that neither is yet out of his 30s, both have made a considerable name for themselves on the classical music scene, having already received a significant number of performances and commissions by major orchestras and other world-class performing organizations. Following in the footsteps of John Corigliano, Richard Danielpour, and others, both Pann and Kellogg seem to want their music to be loved by the masses and therefore write in a highly accessible, flamboyant style, characterized by bold, splashy gestures, a mildly dissonant harmonic language, intense rhythmic development, and lots of “gee-whiz” effects, all outfitted in dazzling, kaleidoscopic orchestrations.

Pann’s single-movement Serenade is the light, entertaining diversion that the title implies. I enjoyed it while listening to it and didn’t give it one bit of thought after it was over. Concerto Logic for piano and wind ensemble, a work inspired by the composer’s love of games, is an altogether more ambitious effort, though hardly more memorable. Cast in four movements, there are hints of Rachmaninoff in the piano writing and an even stronger influence of Ravel in the work’s overall vocabulary and orchestration. As with the Serenade, the work’s lack of memorable melodic material or for that matter, any memorable musical material, made it fade from the mind as quickly as did its last note. The composer serves as his own very capable soloist.

Kellogg’s three-movement A Tent for the Sun was inspired “by the overwhelming beauty of the mountains of Colorado.” As one might expect from this description, the work, scored for string quartet and wind ensemble, is something of a sonic landscape. Virtually devoid of melody, harmonic progression in the traditional sense, or the development of musical ideas, the work is nothing more or less than an accumulation and dissipation of static, motionless though admittedly beautiful colors and textures dressed up in dazzling, ear-tickling orchestrations. Nothing really happens, but nothing happens very effectively.

Pyramus and Thisbe, originally for actor and orchestra, was commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra and is heard here in the composer’s own transcription for wind ensemble. The text is taken from act V of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and has been adapted for one “ham” actor who plays all of the parts—the narrator, the lovers Pyramus and Thisbe, even the wall, the lion, and the moon—in a comical, over-the-top manner. The music, such as it is, plays a definite second banana to the histrionics of the spoken script, here performed by actor Patrick Mason, who most assuredly hams it up to the hilt. I must confess that his delivery kept reminding me of the old Jon Lovitz Saturday Night Live character Master Thespian. “Acting!” Such a reaction would surely please “Master” Mason. Though the work is undeniably entertaining in a broad sort of way, a little of this sort of thing goes a long way, especially on a recording, and at over 23 minute’s length, Pyramus and Thisbe verges on overstaying its welcome. It probably goes without saying that the work does not hold up well on repeated listenings.

The performances are all first-rate, as is the recorded sound. Fans of these two composers will not be disappointed.

FANFARE: Merlin Patterson
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Works on This Recording

Serenade for Winds, for band by Carter Pann
Conductor:  Allan McMurray
Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Colorado Wind Symphony
Written: 2008 
Venue:  Macky Auditorium, University of Colorado 
Length: 10 Minutes 1 Secs. 
A Tent for the Sun, for string quartet & band by Daniel Kellogg
Conductor:  Allan McMurray
Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Colorado Wind Symphony
Written: 2008-2009 
Venue:  Live  Grusin Music Hall, Imig Music, Universit 
Length: 17 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Concerto Logic, for piano & band by Carter Pann
Performer:  Carter Pann (Piano)
Conductor:  Allan McMurray
Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Colorado Wind Symphony
Written: 2007-2008 
Venue:  Macky Auditorium, University of Colorado 
Length: 22 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Pyramus and Thisbe, for actor & band by Daniel Kellogg
Conductor:  Allan McMurray
Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Colorado Wind Symphony
Written: 2007 
Venue:  Macky Auditorium, University of Colorado 
Length: 23 Minutes 57 Secs. 

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