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  Classical Editor: Rob Barnett  
Founder Len Mullenger   
 





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Beata MOON
Earthshine

Movement - String Quartet
Illusions-Marimba solo
2. Prelude 3. Tenderly 4. With intense energy
Nursery-Piano solo - Reflectively
Guernica-Piano solo -. Vivace
String Quartet

7. Suspended; 8. Scherzo; 9. Flowing; 10. Eerie; 11. Energetic
1,2,3-Alto Saxophone solo
12. Driving; intense energy; 13. Soulful; sincere; 14. Flowing
Vignettes-Electric Guitar/Piano - Spirited
Three Songs

16. I Corinthians 13 (Soprano/Baritone duet); 17. John 3:16 (Baritone solo); 18. Psalm 121 (Soprano solo)
Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day- Soprano/Baritone - Lovingly
Wind Quintet

20. Allegro; with rhythmic vitality; 21 Introduction; Soulful; 22 Playful; with rhythmic vitality
BIBIMBOP RECORDS 02B56 [72:24]


Perigee and apogee

Safari

David Fedele, flute; tom Chiu, violin; Makoto Nakura, marimba; Thomas Kolor, percussion; Beata Moon, piano
Piano Fantasy

Beata Moon, piano
Moonpaths

Alan Kay, clarinet; Karen Marx, violin; Beata Moon, piano
Submerged

Beata Moon, piano
Antelope Vamp

Tom Chiu, electric violin; Makato Nakura, vibraphone; Thomas Kolor, percussion; Beata Moon, piano
Winter Sky

Chin Kim, violin; Beata Moon, piano
In Transit

Beata Moon, piano
Mary

Joan La Barbara, soprano; Tom Chiu, violin; Danny Mallon, percussion; Beata Moon, piano
Prelude

Beata Moon, piano
ALBANY TROY426 [63:21]

I knew nothing about Beata Moon until these two discs (Perigee and Apogee and Earthshine) arrived with a request from Len to review them.

Moon is a Korean-American composer. Her debut came at the age of eight with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. She graduated from the Juilliard in 1990 and found her lodestar in composing. She is an educator and is at the Lincoln Center as a teaching artist.

There are no symphonies here nor any epic extended strands of music. That's descriptive: not a criticism. The pieces on both CDs date from the period 1996-2004.

Movement is a lyrically intense quartettsatz. This is extremely warm writing ending in a gentle downward curve rather than in fury. Makoto Nakura's pleasingly accessible marimba playing presents Moon's triptych Illusions in a kindly and accessible light. Gamelan echoes are inevitable but the writing manages to avoid any oriental effect. Nursery is played by Moon herself and is by no means a little charmer for little people. This is the world of the young child from the vantage point of adulthood. Guernica is a sort of Allegro Barbaro - fast rather than overtly tragic. The String Quartet is subtitled ‘in homage to Bela’ - namely Bela Bartók. Bartók is the presence here but he is conjured inventively with some intriguing antiphonal and dynamic effects. I liked the creaky-squeaky Eerie after which the final Energetic (very Hungarian) can seem quite deafening. .

1,2,3 is, surprise surprise, a piece in three succinct movements for alto saxophone alone. Brian Sacawa gives no quarter. The sound of key mechanisms, the quiet patter of fingers and breathiness is a distraction - minor though. It's a fairly bleak little piece until we get to the Nyman-influenced Flowing final segment. Not the strongest item here.

I loved Vignettes with Kevin Gallagher's electric guitar slamming out or pattering in emulation of the Segovian guitar. The composer's electric piano nicely complements the hysterical riffs and the echoing shudders of the guitar. I loved the epilogue in the form of a cortege for the two instruments. Well worth having and hearing.

Three Songs for my Parents are for the composer's piano with soprano alone, baritone alone and then a duet. This is different again in style - much simpler. The writing has the gravity and lack of pretension of a drawing room sampler. It is almost hymnal and sometimes looks back in evident affection towards Broadway and the salon. Shall I compare thee to a summer's day is a duet and has stylistic links to the domestic piano stool. This BiBimBop disc ends with the engaging and endearing chant and chatter of the Wind Quintet which has the warmth of the Barber Summer Music but is laid out with even greater clarity - not at all desiccated or neo-classical.

There is pleasing music presented here in carefully thought-through variety.

One disc is from Moon's own label the other is from the multitudinously accommodating Albany label. The notes for both discs are by Kyle Gann; very informative especially in the case of the Albany.

The Albany starts with Safari which is a little fantasy; kaleidoscopically active. It thrives on patter motifs, enigmatic violin figures, marimba punctuation and sometimes recalls a sort of contemporary Delage Chants Hindous. The Piano Fantasy is jazzy or touched with a Broadway wand. The writing recalls the composer/lyricist dialogue in Sondheim’s Merrily we roll along. Moonpaths is in six movements drawing on the domestic simplicity of the drawing room; very affecting too. A certain regretfulness registers well in the final segment. There are other voices too including a dancingly Copland flavour. Submerged is the toughest writing here giving the impression of oceanic depths and a hint of Dies Irae.

I loved the laid-back elegance of Antelope Vamp with its soft-shoe rasp and long-limbed jazzy piano soon joined by succulent marimba. This needs to get on to the Classic FM playlist. It's superbly recorded giving a tangible sense of spatial placement of the artists. Loved it.

The 1996 Winter Sky is for a chastened violin and piano. It is a desolately grieving piece and the big tune has a Gaelic curve. In Transit is for solo piano and is faintly hazy with glances cast sidelong at Mussorgsky's Pictures and at Shostakovich. After an allusive first movement it resorts to bleakly haunted and haunting writing.

Mary begins similarly bleak before the solo voice enters in a vocalise vying with the lyrical charge of the Rachmaninov Vocalise.

The farewell offering is a piece entitled Prelude. It is a gentle and lovingly-shaped creation indebted somewhat to Glass and Reich; endearingly peaceable writing.

Two discs portraying Moon as a composer of many facets. She can be populist, jazzy, bleak, modernistic, minimalist. She cares enough to perform her own works. She has it in her to grip the listener and a number of pieces here are, on a first hearing, extremely attractive.

Rob Barnett

 
LIST OF WORKS

Wind Quintet (2004)
written for members of the Beata Moon Ensemble 11'
Vignettes (2003/04)
electric guitar and piano
commissioned by Kevin Gallagher 5' 30
Curved Air (2003)
brass trio
commissioned by Curvd Air 7'
Movement for String Quartet (2002)
written for the Barbad Chamber Orchestra 5'
Fission (2001)
for large chamber ensemble
premiered at Miller Theatre on 2/22/02
Mahsul (2001)
for actor, piano, percussion
text by poet Nadine Mozon 11'
Three Movements (2001)
for 2 sopranos, string orchestra and piano
dedicated to Barton M. and Judith L. Biggs 11'
String Quartet (2000)
dedicated to Michael Patrick and Carol Sedwick 12'
Safari ° (2000)
marimba, percussion, flute, violin, piano 5'
A Silent Movie (2000)
The Sequel (years later abroad) (2000)
for Alan and Karen
clarinet, violin 5'
Moonpaths ° (1998)
clarinet, violin, piano 18'
commissioned by SENSEDANCE
Winter Sky (1996)
for Chin Kim
violin, piano 4'30
Mary (1996)
soprano, piano, violin, drum 10'
commissioned by Edward Hudaverdi and Frances Neale
Antelope Vamp ° (1996)
electric violin, vibraphone, percussion, piano 5'
commissioned by SENSEDANCE
.
.
s o l o - i n s t r u m e n t a l .....^
Keepers of Democracy (2004)
speaking pianist, piano, toy piano 5'30
text excerpted from Eleanor Roosevelt's speech
commissioned by Tom Rosenkranz
Guernica (2003)
piano solo 3'
Premiered April 11, 2003 at Capistrano Hall, Sacramento, CA.
Waves (2003)
commissioned for the Kaufman Center's Lucy Moses School's 50th anniversary
for beginner-intermediate piano solo 2'
1,2,3 (2002)
commissioned by Brian Sacawa
saxophone solo 7'
Illusions (2000)
commissioned by Makoto Nakura
marimba 6'
Toccata (2000)
piano 2'30
In Transit ° (1999)
piano 7'30
Submerged (1999)
piano 3'30
Sweet (1999)
theatrical piece for unaccompanied cello 7'
inspired by Bill Irwin & David Shiner in "Fool Moon"
For Michael (1999)
piano 2'
Piano Fantasy ° (1998)
piano 5'
Nursery (1996)
piano 2'
commissioned by SENSEDANCE
Prelude (1995)
piano 4'
commissioned by SENSEDANCE
.
.
v o c a l .....^
The Beatitudes (2003)
for Jay Moon
baritone with piano 2'
Do Not Worry (2003)
dedicated to Susie & Bob Case
SATB a cappella 2'
We are One (2003)
children's choir 2'
Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day? (2000)
soprano, baritone with piano 2'
From Your Eyes (1999)
baritone with piano, text by Korean poet Sokchong Shin 2'
Welcome! (1999)
SATB, Christmas carol with audience participation 2'
3 Songs for my Parents (1996)
....John 3:16
....baritone with piano 2'
....I Corinthians:13
....soprano, baritone with piano 3'
....Psalm 121
....soprano with piano 2'
It's O.K. to be Me! (1992)
children's song 2'

 

You might find this disc interesting

 

Errollyn WALLEN The Girl in my Aphabet Dervish for cello and piano, Are you worried about the rising cost of funerals? five simple songs for soprano and string quartet, Louis' Loops for toy piano, Horseplay for ensemble, In our lifetime for baritone and tape, The girl in my alphabet for two pianos Matthew Sharp (cello); Dominic Harlan (piano) (Dervish) Patricia Rosario (sop); David le Page (violin); Kirsty Staines (violin); David Aspin (viola); Joseph Spooner (cello); Philip Headlam (conductor) (Five Simple Songs) Margaret Leng Tan (two toy pianos) (Louis' Loops) Continuum Ensemble/Philip Headlam (Horseplay) Mike Henry (bar) (In Our Lifetime) Douglas Finch; Errollyn Wallen (pianos) (The Girl in My Alphabet) rec Cowell Theatre, Fort Mason Centre, San Francisco, USA (Louis' Loops); March 1990, Wallen Music Centre, London (In Our Lifetime); 8-9 Oct 2001, Potton Hall, Suffolk, England; 25 March 1999 AVIE AV 0006 [70.11] [RB]

Wallen is a brashly creative, open-minded composer striding with confident abandon from jazz, to Tippett, to spirituals, to Schoenberg, to Mediterranean mystery.

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