STEPHEN PAULUS (b.1949): Art Suite for Cello and Piano, LIBBY LARSEN (b.1950): Black Birds, Red Hills for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, MATTHEW HARRIS (b.1956): Starry Night for Piano Trio, ANDREW LIST (b.1956): Noa Noa: A Gauguin Tableau for Violin, Clarinet and Piano.
Catalogue Number: 07L099
Label: MSR Classics
Reference: MS 1264
Description: These pieces form part of a project to forge connections between art forms, showcasing music by contemporary American composers written 'about' specfic works of art. Harris' work is based on seven paintings in the Museum of Modern Art. Stromgly characterised, the movements are vividly programmatic, depicting the subjects of the paintings, even down to the metronome and clumsy pianism of Matisse's 'The Piano Lesson', or the distorted ticking of Dali's melting watches. Paulus' Art Suite is freely adapted from the composer's own song cycle which sets texts about specific paintings. The music is tonal, more so than much of the Harris, and melodically and harmonically rich. Larsen's atmospheric suite suggests the enigmatic beauty of O'Keeffe's magnified and iconic images. List's Noa Noa takes its title from Gauguin's Tahitian diary, and in three movements - dramatic and aggressive; flexible and searching; serene and spiritual - provides a musical answer to the questions posed in the artist's huge mural tableau of human existence. About half of the paintings referred to (copyright restrictions?) are usefully reproduced in the booklet, and a website is provided for links and information on the rest. Montage Music Society.