Archive for December, 2014

Album du jour

Until last year John Montanari hosted a music programme on a Massachusetts radio station WFCR-FM.   “One of the best parts of the job”, he says, “has been learning about newer composers and just how broad the classical canon is”.   After reading his review, I wondered to what extent did his broadcasting voice mirror his prose?   He appears to be a very thorough and conscientious reviewer, having listened to the sonatas several times and having studied the sleeve notes before delivering his verdict.

“Yes”, he writes, “they’re abstract, angular and dissonant.   But unlike in more severe modernism (e.g. Carter, Boulez), you can actually hear what the hell is going on.   There’s no way to predict what will happen next, but when it happens, you understand why it did”.

“(Sonata) No. 7 is my favourite.   In five related but well differentiated movements, arranged symmetrically, their moods ranging from jazzy to spectral, it’s a cogent, concise and worthy addition to the latter-day piano sonatas of Prokofiev, Copeland, Tippett and Carter”.

Sonata No. 8 “Here we have at least one foot (one hand?) in the world of Morton Feldman……. for now I don’t mind the ride, I have no idea where I am most of the time…… then by reading the programme notes after a few listens, as is my usual procedure, I found that my disorientation was the intended effect, and that the works’s (sic) seeming randomness was built into its compositional method”.   Obviously Mr. Montanari’s Damascene moment.

Sonata No. 9 “Though the two composers in no way resemble each other, I get the same emotional tug from Craven’s 9th Sonata as I get from Franz Schubert’s final three works in the same genre”.   Schubert?   Now there’s a new label!

To read the full review: https://www.johnmontanari.com/2014/11/17/album-du-jour-mary-dullea-eric-craven-piano-sonatas-7-•-8-•9

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