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