CARSON COOMAN (b.1982): Pittsburgh Concerto (Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic; Efrain Amaya), Concerto for Bass Trombone and 6 Players (James Siders [bass trombone], Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble; Walter Morales), Shining Space for Horn and String Quartet (Konstantin Sokol [horn], Ukrainian Quartet), Horn Trio (Petro Hrushovenko [horn], Ostap Shutko [violin], Natalia Tolmacheva [piano]).
Catalogue Number: 07L110
Label: Zimbel Records
Reference: ZR 108
Description: The Pittsburgh Concerto is an homage to the city, opening with a clangorous evocation of the region's industrial past, before progressing, in the style of a concerto for orchestra, through a series of solos and duets which explore a variety of moods and textures, from the lushly romantic to unpitched and energetic, ending with a grand celebration of the city's transfiguration in its night-time illumination. The trio consists of a series of celebratory contemplations of natural, mystical and cosmological relationships, meditative and pastoral music alternating with episodes of mysterious stillness and blazing affirmation. The concerto is a dark-hued piece, employing only instruments of predominantly somber timbre, the soloist's soliloquy angrily, or at least moodily lyrical throughout, obsessively reinforced by the like-minded commentary of the ensemble. Shining Space is a work of luminous energy, expanding its pitch material as it progresses 'from close dissonance to luminous consonance' in the composer's words. After a scintillating opening the piece moves through a series of episodes of cumulative ecstatic energy, contrasting with the tenderly lyrical middle movement. The composer's tonally-based, often modally inflected vocabulary with excursions into expressive dissonance as dictated by the message of the music, is an effective mixture of bold dramatic gesture and economical, austere contemplation.