Jeffrey STADELMAN (b.1976)
Pity Paid (2002-2004) [11:14]; Kinderszenen (2003) [25:34]; Mr. Natural (2004) [11:09]; Starry Wisdom (1999-2001) [10:42]
Movses Pogossian (violin)
Slee Sinfonietta/Magnus Märtensson
rec. 2001-2005, Lippes Concert Hall, Slee Hall, Music Department, University of Buffalo, USA. DDD
CENTAUR CRC2934 [58:53]
The opening of Pity Paid is immediately arresting and instantly commands attention. The work, for solo violin and chamber orchestra, is aggressive in tone and creates a series of moments of tension which gradually resolve as the piece progresses. Contrapuntal orchestral lines bring out individual instruments in the overall sound and allow the solo violin to emerge clearly from the texture. Bursts of energy are maintained through to the last bar, and the piece felt much shorter than its 11 minute duration. Movses Pogossian provides a convincing solo line throughout.
Kinderszenen is scored for five instrumentalists; flute, percussion, piano, cello and trumpet. The opening is slow and spacious, providing a stark contrast with the material of the previous piece. It soon builds into an energetic tapestry of sounds. The music takes its form from a Kafka short story, called Eleven Sons, in which a father describes his sons, one by one. The episodes contrast each other well, with changes of texture and mood. The scoring reminds me a little of Schönberg - Pierrot Lunaire particularly springs to mind - and the rhythmic elements of the piece keep a good sense of momentum. Rare moments of unison or octave playing - such as in the dialogue between flute and trumpet - demand attention, as does the fantastic effect of flutter-tongued trumpet, which bursts through the texture with controlled force. The quiet section which follows has well controlled intonation and offers a moment of repose to the ear before the energy rebuilds. A jazz interlude later in the piece seems incongruent with the style of the surrounding music, and yet works effectively, given the contrasting nature of the different episodes. Stadelman is clearly a composer with imagination and skill.
Mr Natural is a work for trumpet and piano, composed for Jon Nelson and Jacob Greenberg, who perform it here. There is what now seems to be a characteristic energy in the piece, which again seems episodic in nature and has a sense of natural flow. Variety in instrumental timbre is achieved through the use of mutes. The slow sections provide a welcome sense of space which allows the more frenetic sections to breathe.
The final work on the disc is Starry Wisdom, a chamber orchestra piece based on a work by the American writer, H.P. Lovecraft, and deals with the subject of cult worship. This recording is of the premiere performance. Again, here, Stadelman’s contrapuntal lines build a bright orchestral texture, with individual instrumental colours coming through.
This is an interesting disc which provides a good introduction to Stadelman’s works. The playing is solid, and the music is well communicated.
Carla Rees
Interesting disc providing a good introduction to Stadelman’s works.