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Beata MOON (b.1969)
Piano Works
Piano Sonata (2006) [17:10]
Submerged (1999) [3:12]
In Transit (1999) [7:02]
Guernica (2003) [3:26]
Inter-Mez-Zo (2006) [8:47]
Toccata (2000) [2:20]
Ode (1998) [3:34]
Piano Fantasy (1998) [4:53]
Nursery (1996) [2:04]
The Secret (2005) [3:13]
Prelude (1996) [4:06]
Beata Moon (piano)
rec. American Academy of Arts and Letter, New York, 16-17 February 2007 DDD
NAXOS 8.570347 [60:21]

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.

Patrick C Waller

See also Review by Carla Rees 

 

 

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