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Carson COOMAN (b.1982)
Shoreline Rune for string orchestra (2014) [4:56]
Liminal: Symphony No. 4 for orchestra (2014) [23:39]
Prism for organ (2003) [7:25]
Erik Simmons (organ)
Slovak National Symphony Orchestra/Kirk Trevor
rec. Slovak Radio Studio, Bratislava, 22 August 2014 (Shoreline Rune; Symphony); 6 October 2014 (Prism)

Carson Cooman's name was new to me when I received this CD to review and I suspect it is is for many. In fact, he is extremely prolific and can boast 25 CDs of his music.
Shoreline Rune is quite effective in creating a coastal atmosphere. It doesn’t develop to any great extent but neither does it overstay its welcome.

The main piece on this CD is Liminal - the Latin for threshold - the formal name of Cooman’s Symphony No.4. The theme, if that’s not too strict a term for such a fluid piece, is climate change. The music has moments of excitement and certainly conjures climatic imagery but I don't see any justification for it being called a symphony. There are some interesting uses of the orchestra, particularly the harp and brass, but the material seems very thin. It might be more fulfilling as a live piece but I can’t honestly say I’d choose to hear it over so much more satisfying modern music. The playing of the orchestra is committed and the sound is perfectly satisfactory as are the brief but informative notes. Bearing in mind my initial observation concerning Cooman’s prolific output I can’t help feeling that if he spent longer on developing his ideas then the outcome would be more fulfilling.
Prism - a thoughtful piece for organ - is described as contemplative and cosmic. Like Shoreline Rune, it is an atmospheric piece and whilst it doesn’t develop its theme it makes for pleasant listening.

All in all this disc presents music that fails to be original enough to make me want to explore this composer further. There are some interesting ideas but these are largely unfulfilled, so sadly, it's not a disc I’ll be returning to. If you are already drawn to Cooman, you will no doubt want to add this to your collection. I should note that the very short playing time is reflected in the reduced price for this "mini-album" as the label calls it.

David R Dunsmore

Previous review: John France



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