Notes and Editorial Reviews
In Flight Until Mysterious Night.
Cello Sonata No. 2
. In February. Gemini. Slow Motion. 3rd Delphic Hymn. September Music
INNOVA 797 (69:21)
Take whatever side(s) you want in the new-music wars, one undeniably important observation about current views of audiences and critics is that a truce of sorts seems to be prevailing, with a growing consensus that aesthetic sides need not be taken at all (other than assessments of
quality). This seems almost too obvious a point to make, but it’s been a long time coming, even if all parties are not entirely there yet.
I’m sure Jeremy Beck would be the first to acknowledge that listeners won’t feel confronted or challenged by the music in his new CD
(also the name of the fine ensemble) as much as invited into a sound world that feels familiar and comfortable, though the seven works are recent creations. The loudest echoes in Beck’s music are all tonally centered Americans, most notably Copland and Adams, and most particularly the pastoral elements of the former. The gentle syncopations that frequently emerge could be a reflection of Bernstein specifically, or the jazz idiom more generally.
The listener is also likely to experience feelings of nostalgia, as with
for soprano and three instruments. Singer Margaret Baube Andraso gives a lithe and lyrical reading of a text (by the composer) steeped in loneliness and recrimination. Memory and seasonal references are also in play in
, a thoroughly engrossing work that suggests a pensive and melancholy posture without the benefit of lyrics.
has some of the most overt jazz influences, with piano and vibes trading attractive, syncopated snips of melody. His Cello Sonata No. 2 uses similar language, though earlier eras of Western Romanticism are tapped as well. Beck composes sensitively and idiomatically for the cello, and cellist Elisa Kohanski and pianist Rob Frankenberry give the work a passionate and engaging reading.
The other works all benefit from equally strong performances by ensemble members, including violinist Laura Motchalov in
Third Delphic Hymn
and flutist Peggy Yoo, Frankenberry, and Kohanski in
. Like all of the pieces,
In Flight Until Mysterious Night
is aptly titled, brimming with airy, forward motion. The recorded sound is clear and bright. Highly recommended.
FANFARE: Michael Cameron
Works on This Recording
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