Kyle Gann Private Dances (NA137cd)
Performed by Sarah Cahill, piano
Da Capo Chamber Players – violin, cello, piano, flute, clarinet
Bernard Gann, electric bass
Kyle Gann (b.1955) is a composer whose music inevitably is structured with an array of metric, harmonic and melodic ideas and strategies that would seem to guarantee it to be beyond listenable in its complexity. However, the opposite is in fact what the listener receives- the work is deeply felt, lyrically clear and driven by song.
Gann is also known to the musical world as an author and critic, and teaches in the music department at Bard College.
Private Dances (2004) is so hot, so longing with yearning, so lonely with the blues, so salacious in its undressing of the unsuspecting listener, that it could properly carry a Warning ! sticker. In six movements – sexy, sad, sentimental, sultry, saintly, swingin’. The pianist, Sarah Cahill, leaves you, the listener, with nothing – she took it all. This piece is what was going on in the mind of the guy at the end of the counter in the E. Hopper painting, Nighthawks.
Hovenweep, performed by Da Capo Chamber Players, is centered on channeling the spiritual world of the Anasazi civilization that predated the Judeo-Christian world and was centered in what is now the Utah-Colorado border.
Time Does Not Exist (2000) is a tour de force for solo piano that evokes dream states through melodies that are different lengths and that overlap, die out, and reappear. It is inspired by the comment of Sigmund Freud- ‘in the unconscious, time does not exist’.
The Day Revisited is a chamber work of microtonal virtuosity in a 29 pitch scale harmonically magnetized by a D drone, the end result is a kind of floating and wandering feeling, of calmness and languor.
On Reading Emerson (2006) is an homage to Emerson’s practice of taking a series of ideas and issues, then juggling them through paragraphs in a sometimes logical and sometimes nearly whimsical melding of diverse and contrasting elements. The musical effect is of a deeply considered and unhurried gaze out of a window, possibly onto a winter woods.
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