Born in North Dakota
of Korean origins, Beata Moon is largely self-taught as a composer.
Her pluralistic style is not easy to pigeonhole but the idiom
is attractive. Within concise forms she uses plenty of material
and composes for her instrument imaginatively. She also plays
with great flair but I searched in vain for much emotional content
in the music or evidence of her Eastern roots.
The Piano Sonata
is the most substantial work here. It is in four movements,
an opening sustained chorale, lively quasi-scherzo, simplistic
slow movement and robust finale. New York City-inspired In
Transit and Inter-Mez-Zo are also multi-movement
works both of which are overtly programmatic. The journeys are
short but these works often seemed to me to be more imaginative
than the sonata. Inter-Mez-Zo catches the ear with Moon’s
overtly exuberant playing in the outer movements and a delightful
middle section marked “mellow; lazily”.
Of the single span
works, Submerged is perhaps the most impressive and impressionistic,
Guernica the most dissonant. Whilst Toccata focuses on
rhythm, Ode is notable for tonal colouring and was composed
in homage to Debussy. It seems slightly odd to end the disc
with Moon’s first composition for piano – Prelude, a work notable
for use of 13/16 time.
Beata Moon’s pianism
is well-tested by her music and she passes with flying colours
playing a Fazioli piano. The recorded sound is quite close but
very clean. Relatively brief but pertinent notes by composer
Frank J. Oteri are included. I liked the cover image – what
Lowry might have done if he had been born in America perhaps?
All this music has
been composed in the last decade or so and we are not overburdened
with discs of contemporary piano works. This is likeable music
that spends more time looking over the shoulder than forwards
but I would suspect that the best of Moon is yet to come.
See also Review
by Carla Rees