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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. February 2007, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York. DDD
NAXOS 8.570347 [60:21] 


Beata Moon is a Korean-American pianist and composer. She trained as a pianist at the Juilliard School and is known for her specialism in new music. As a composer, she is self-taught, and her compositional style encompasses a range of genres, from the classical tradition to film and popular music. 

The CD begins with the charming Piano Sonata, a substantial four movement work lasting around 17 minutes. Each movement takes on its own character, with a bold and majestic first, and an energetically rhythmic second. The third movement is simple and calm, using mostly four part chords, and the piece draws to a close with the exciting finale, which is more ‘filmy’ in style with its grand sweeping gestures and at times more adventurous harmony. The ending is perhaps a little abrupt; there is room for further development in a work of this substance. 

In Transit, composed in 1999, is reminiscent of Bernstein and Shostakovich, and one can’t help but be reminded of Stravinsky in some of the thumping bass lines - such as in the movement, Chug-A, track 7. The piece has drive and the more jazzy moments have poise and sophistication. The piece is made up of five movements, each of which lasts under a minute and a half. On the CD, they flow seamlessly from one to another, leaving the impression of a single continuous movement. 

The aggressive opening to Guernica (track 11) is very different from the other works on the disc. The harmony is more dissonant and here we can hear the full flair of the performer. Unfortunately the gutsiness dissipates and the style of the music returns to what we have, by now, become accustomed to. 

Mention should also made of the Piano Fantasy, which was possibly conceived as a tribute to the various famous fantasy pieces in the piano’s repertoire. Moon’s flawless technique allows for fluidity and evenness and the treble and bass become, at times, different characters within the work. 

In general, I enjoyed listening to this CD. I particularly enjoyed the more dissonant moments, perhaps partially because they provided variety and partially because I was at times willing Ms Moon to let rip a little more. The piano playing is excellent and the sound quality of the recording is impressive. I was particularly attracted by the clarity of the recording. However, for me, a whole disc of this music was too much. A little more variety was needed to maintain my interest. The majority of works here are short, and are ideal as recital pieces as they would complement both traditional and contemporary works.

Carla Rees




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