Craig Madden MORRIS (b.1945)
Violin Concerto (Piano Reduction) (2002/10) [34:27]
Piano Trio (2008) [8:35]
Dream Songs (Chanson Suave; Canción de la Silfide; Canção Saudade) (2007) [9:24]
Cello Rhapsody (piano reduction) (2005/08) [15:26]
Tropical Dances (Salta; Colores; Habanera) (2009) [11:40]
Christine Kwak (violin), Nan-Cheng Chen (cello), Eduard Laurel (piano), Martha Locker (piano)
rec. October 2009, March and May 2010, Patrych Sound Studios, New York
RAVELLO RR7813 [79:36]
Dreams is as excellent title for this well-filled disc, considering that much of its contents has a dreamy, reflective character. It mixes chamber music for strings with piano with piano solos. The music is for the most part relaxed and contemplative, pleasant, with micro-events, like ripples on the water, and with a strong improvisatory flavor. To an impatient listener it may just seem like endless rambling, which it probably isn’t. You should be open to being submerged into it or willing to float wherever it takes you.
I did not find the listening experience all that engaging. I can stop this disc at any moment, and won’t have regrets or wish to know what will follow further – like those movies or books that don’t really hook you. Maybe the problem is in me, but I do not feel any resonance with this music. It lacks surprise. On the other hand it’s definitely listenable, if not actually memorable - a kind of contemporary Romanticism, yet not slipping into the “ambience music” category. The composer knows how to set the mood and the mood set is very uniform throughout: leisurely and sweet. The harmonies are modern and free, often quite adventurous. The two concerto reductions are freely rhapsodic. It was not easy for me to follow the musical logic of the pieces. More often than not it felt like aimless drifting. It’s all very moderate. Some places remind of the music of Ottorino Respighi, especially his tranquil works like Poema autunnale or the violin sonata, although the images established by the Italian composer seem better formed.
I am sorry that I cannot say much about music which does not say much to me. Probably, I am an impatient listener. I know that biodegradable products are good, but somehow I am not a big fan of biodegradable music. The performances are devoted. The recording quality is good. The sound is “white”. All this connects well with the dreamy qualities of the music. The liner-note tells a little about each work: about the performers and about the composer.