CARSON COOMAN (b.1982): A Trip to the Sky for Any Instrument or Combination of Instruments, Schumann Serenade for String Trio, Piano Quartet "A Sea Liturgy", Estampie for 2 Violins, Tombeau-Aria for String Quartet, Cavatina for Viola and Piano, 4 Aphoristic Inventions for String Quartet, Planctus for Viola, Viola Quintet "Unquiet Parables".
Catalogue Number: 06M094
Label: MSR Classics
Reference: MS 1387
Description: As in his other recent works, Cooman adopts the same eloquent personal idiom with its instant appeal that belies its sophisticated craftsmanship and true emotional depth, basically tonal and always harmonically inventive. The piano quartet is a case in point; combining the composer's love of natural landscape and spiritual ritual, the work is a sequence of evocative movements; monumental, prayerful, exuberant, and peaceful yet fervent. Schumann Serenade puns on the names of the dedicatees by incorporating fragments from the music of the composer of the same name, which influence the music's overall style, after a slightly forbidding, Shostakovich-like introduction. The Tombeau-Aria - 6 years and 300 opus numbers earlier than the most recent piece here - is relatively atonal, like the Inventions from the same year; it is a somber miniature in memory of Meyer Kupferman, while the 2008 Cavatina, memorializing Donald Erb, achieves a similar mood in a more consonant vocabulary, with striking sonorous resonance. The Quintet occupies a world of ambiguous harmony, with sudden radiant returns to tonal centers. The most recent piece, A Trip to the Sky consists of 9 'modules' which can be played in any order, combination or manner, and by any combination of instruments, which sounds very Cagean and avant-garde; in the composer's solo piano rendition here, it sounds as though a skillful cut-up and fold-in exercise has been performed on the scores of the piano pieces from the other recent disc. Various artists (16 of them, in fact).