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Carson COOMAN (b. 1982)
Fanfare for DGF, op.763 (2008) [00:37]
Remembering Tomorrow: Trombone Concerto, op.580 (2004) [10:35]
In What Time Remains, op.636 (2005) [5:51]
Oboe Quartet, op.735 (2007) [17:24]
Enchanted Tracings (Piano Concerto No.2), op.762 (2008) [15:59]
Beyond All Knowing, op.538 (2003) [8:14]
Brass Quintet, op.719 (2007) [7:36]
Igor Fabera (oboe); Robert Marecek (violin); Alexander Lakatos (viola); Jan Slavik (cello) (Oboe Quartet); Petr La Garde, Ratislav Suchan (trumpets); Igor Bielik (horn); Albert Hrubovcak (trombone); Nikolaj Kanisak (tuba) (Time Remains and Brass Quintet); Robert Kozánek (trombone); Nora Skuta (piano); Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Kirk Trevor
rec. 11 January 2004 (Beyond All Knowing); 24 May 2007 (Remembering Tomorrow); 8 December 2007 (In What Time Remains, Brass Quintet and Oboe Quartet); 20 May 2008 (Fanfare for DGF and Enchanted Tracings), Slovak Radio Hall, Bratislava, Slovakia DDD
ARTEK AR00472 [66:12] 

 

Experience Classicsonline


At the very end of last year I reviewed a disk of Cooman’s vocal and piano music (Albany TROY1053) which failed to interest me, finding the music lacking in real personality and having little to make me want to listen to it again.
 

This disk is quite different. It seems incredible that a man not yet thirty years old can have reached opus 763, and probably more by the time of writing. From such a large catalogue there must be some pieces which fail to “deliver the goods” but here we have seven recent pieces, all of which have much to say for themselves. 

The Fanfare for DGF makes a brilliant start – it is ebullient and sparkling, everything you want from a fanfare, and at 37 seconds it is perfect. The Trombone Concerto, whilst somewhat dour, I would have liked a bit of contrast within the piece, is a fascinating piece, not virtuosic in the traditional Concerto sense but certainly a difficult prospect for the soloist. It’s full of the sound of bells and there’s quite a bit of drama. In What Time Remains is an easy–going piece with no surprises but a rich vein of lyricism. It’s full of sumptuous chordal writing, and there’s none of the usual fanfare and fast-running music one usually expects from brass instruments. 

The Oboe Quintet is written in a more modern language, starting with what sounds like free string pizzicato sections interspersed with oboe “arias”. As the music progresses it becomes rather aggressive and there is much unison writing. This is quite a tough work, but it is very exciting and is a worthy addition to the all too small repertoire for oboe quartet. This should be played often. The Piano Concerto, scored for an orchestra without strings, is an odd piece. Here there is no real lyrical interest, instead the work is built on the mixing of various different sonorities - all very satisfying - until the finale when a march-like idea is given prominence. This is the weakest part for it seems less finished than the rest of the work and is rather banal. 

Beyond All Knowing is a disturbing piece of night music, dark and brooding but very passionate. It is scored, for chamber orchestra, in a most transparent and luminous way. This is a real winner, and together with the Oboe Quartet, worth the price of the disk alone. The disk ends with the Brass Quintet, a short work, which inhabits some of the world of Beyond All Knowing but with more obvious brass writing, fanfare–like motifs, sustained chordal passages and brief lyricism. 

Although I find that these pieces fail to display a really original or strong musical personality – there is too little consistency in the language – they are enjoyable and well worth seeking out. I wonder, though, if with his huge catalogue behind him Mr Cooman might now slow down his production and think very seriously about what he has to say and how he is to say it. These works show that there is a questing and interesting musical mind at work but it is, at present, insufficiently focused for Cooman to be truly individual. However, there is time for him to develop a really original voice. 

The recorded sound is very good, well focused and bright and the performances are, I am sure, of the very highest quality.

Bob Briggs


 


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