Audiophile Audition Review: Composing America

Another review for the CD Composing America by the Lark Quartet featuring the Moravec Piano Quintet:

Paul Moravec (b.1957) is a prolific American composer whose music has won the Pulitzer Prize (for Tempest Fantasy), a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, and a Composer Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. He comments, “As a composer, I try always to make beautiful things…the overall harmonic context of my music derives from the tonal tradition,…essentially, Monteverdi to the Beatles and beyond.” His Piano Quintet is characterized by quickly changing moods, variations in rhythms and tempos, and lyrical passages interspersed with dramatic and dissonant sections. The darkly mysterious quickly becomes exciting and tense. The contemplative slow movement is tartly beautiful and ghostly eerie, always transforming. A beautiful cello melody precedes dissonant wandering strings in the central section of the final movement. It’s sandwiched between two sections of fast-paced passages led by the piano. This is a work that reveals and satisfies more upon repeated hearings. Jeremy Denk and the Lark Quartet navigate its complexities with verve and imagination. This is a disc that reflects the wide range of American music in the 20th and 21st century.

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