Notes and Editorial Reviews
COLD DARK MATTER
Patterson Sutton Duo
MSR 1430 (44:36)
Quatre Pièces Intimes.
Sonata for Cello and Guitar.
Park of Idols.
Kimberly Patterson is the
founding cellist with the Tesla Quartet. Patrick Sutton is working on his doctorate at the University of Colorado.
Cold Dark Matter
, the title of their CD, refers to an art installation that illustrates the remains of a garden shed after an explosion. The artist wishes to show familiar objects in unfamiliar circumstances. The Patterson Sutton Duo believes that the unusual combination of their most familiar instruments, the cello and the guitar, fits the title. I don’t agree with their theory, but I enjoyed their music. The warmth of the duo’s glowing tonal colors is in no way cold or dark. The first piece on the disc is by Serbian-born American composer, Dusan Bogdanovic, a classical guitarist whose style combines classical, jazz, and ethnic music. In
Quatre Pièces Intimes
(Four Intimate Pieces), written in 1997, he combines the sounds of the Eastern Mediterranean with African rhythms. The duo plays his inviting tuneful music with full-bodied expression that will enchant both lovers of classical chamber music and casual listeners who want background music for friendly gatherings. Brazilian composer, conductor, orchestrator, and arranger Radamés Gnattali’s 1969 Sonata for Cello and Guitar employs classical form but crowns it with ethnic Brazilian harmony and rhythm. In this work, the two instruments dialogue like lovers in a café. The cello seems to plead with the guitar. Perhaps she wants to feel his embrace for just one more samba. Her bowed pleas are irresistible and he acquiesces with pizzicato elegance. In the last movement they seem to move together with lush sonorities that sing of rediscovered love.
Stephen Goss composed his
Park of Idols
using snippets of music that his patrons, cellist Leonid Gorkhov and guitarist Richard Hand, especially admired. The array of “idols” ranges from composers of classical music to progressive rock stars. The title refers to a 1938 watercolor painting by Paul Klee; it can be seen online at artchive.com/artchive/k/klee/parkidol.jpg. Each movement in Goss’s work pays homage to an “idol.” The first describes Frank Zappa’s music; the second refers to Cornelia Parker’s 1991 installation of the exploded garden shed and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14; see tate.org.uk/art/artworks/parker-cold-dark-matter-an-exploded-view-t06949.
, Goss applies his own style to jazz pieces found in Herbie Hancock’s
Cantaloupe Island. Malabar Hill
employs the harmonies of guitarist Allan Holdsworth and
pays tribute to guitarist Robert Fripp. Bolivian composer Jaime Mirtenbaum Zenamon is the guitarist in a duo with cellist Matias de Oliveiro Pinto. His works often include unconventional rhythms and harmonies that are influenced by South American folk traditions. In
No. 6 he writes an enchanting melody for the cello and its line sails freely over the guitar, which accompanies it with plucked undulations as though it was a song. For the second movement,
, he gives the cello a plaintive melody that Patterson and Sutton play with rich sonorities and exquisite grace. Led by the guitar this time,
, the finale, has a driving rhythmic energy and an earthy Latin flavor. The sound on this recording is clear and it equalizes the performances of these sometimes unequal instruments. This disc will appeal to both lovers of chamber music and guitar fanciers.
FANFARE: Maria Nockin
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