> KENNESY Sunburst [HC]: Classical Reviews- May2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Stefania de KENNESY (born 1961)
Sunburst (1993)a
Beating Down (1995)b
Nancy BLOOMER DEUSSEN (born 1938)

Two Pieces for Violin and Piano (1990)c
Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano (1993)b
Beth ANDERSON (born 1950)

Trio: Dream in d (1980)b
Net Work (1984)a
Mary Kathleen Ernst (piano)abc; Teri Lazar (violin)bc; Marcio Botelho (cello)bc
Recorded: Harmony Hall, Fort Washington, MD, May 1995

Though they clearly belong to different generations, these composers nevertheless share several common concerns. Their music is decidedly tonal despite being written between 1980 and 1995, and the fact that the composers studied with some ‘advanced’ teachers such as Milton Babbitt, Lukas Foss, John Cage and Terry Riley.

Stefania de Kennesy is a pupil of Babbitt, though you would hardly guess it when listening to her overtly tonal, tuneful and formally traditional pieces recorded here. Sunburst (1993) is a brilliant display of piano technique whereas Beating Down for piano trio, actually a 1995 revision of an earlier piece, is frankly traditional, almost reactionarily so.

Nancy Bloomer Deussen studied with Giannini, Foss and Ingolf Dahl. Her music, at least in the works recorded here, is often reminiscent of, say, John Ireland or Ernest John Moeran. Don’t forget that these pieces were composed in the early 1990s. Both Two Pieces (1990) for violin and piano and the Piano Trio (1993) clearly belong to the early 20th Century tradition ( in the widest meaning of the word) and are also very traditional in outlook.

Though belonging to a somewhat younger generation, and a pupil of John Cage, Terry Riley and Robert Ashley, Beth Anderson obviously shares the same stylistic preoccupations. Her Trio: dream in d is again tonal and formally traditional, whereas her piano piece Net Work, a 1984 revision of an earlier work written for the Commotion Dance Company, is more in a minimalist vein and thus sounds slightly more ‘modern’.

I must confess to being rather puzzled by these works. As already mentioned, the music here is frankly tonal, tuneful and might have been written at the beginning of the 20th Century. Were I not convinced of the absolute sincerity of these composers, I would have considered these pieces as pastiche. Nevertheless, as far as I can judge, the performances are all very fine, and well recorded in natural acoustics.

I am sorry not to be able to respond more enthusiastically to this release, but I am convinced that many may derive much pleasure from these uncomplicated, well-crafted and – no doubt – deeply felt pieces.

Hubert Culot

Information about North/South Consonance may be found on www.northsouthmusic.org or in writing : N/S Recordings, PO Box 5081, Albany NY 12205-0081.

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