Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Beata Moon: Saros
If you think modern music is just academic cacophony, then Beata Moon's compositions should quickly change your mind. Moon writes in an accessible style that combines post-romantic sensibilities with contemporary (if not necessarily classical) rhythmic and melodic gestures. As the works on Saros show, it's a powerful combination. Moon's compositions brim with energy and vitality. The musical language in this collection of solo and chamber music is familiar enough to draw listeners in even on first hearing, and reward their attention with insightful emotion.
Dinner is West for violin, cello and piano starts the program. This ballet score is comprised of several small vignettes, each interesting and appealing in their own fashion. Wood Water and Land is my personal favorite. It's a solo composition for marimba. The rich timbre of the instrument, especially as played by Wai-Chi Tang, is well-suited to Moon's music.
Moon isn't afraid of savoring beautiful tones. And her composition Tenancy for cello and piano shows. The cello is allowed to sing, especially in the first and third movements. Poignant turns of phrase and long, flowing lines make this a showcase that should be part of every cellist's repertoire (in my opinion). Dragonfly for clarinet, viola and piano flits about like its namesake, a light interlude that just sounds fun to play.
Dickinson Songs for soprano and guitar is one of the more aggressively "modern" works on this disc. Moon makes some interesting choices in her setting of the text -- choices that bring new insight into these familiar poems. A Collage of Memories for violin, piano follows, another piece that has modernist leanings. But it, too, wins listeners over with its emotional authenticity.
Rhapsody is a beautiful work for solo piano, performed by the composer. Moon is an accomplished pianist, and this gorgeous piece shows both her performing and writing skills to best advantage. A fitting end to this intimate portrait of a composer and her music.