Perhaps the most notable aspect of this release, above and beyond the excellence of Ernst’s playing, is the stylistic diversity of the material. The program opens with Vivian Fung’s rapid-fire, almost minimalist homage to the gamelan, and continues with the chocolate-hued music of Jennifer Higdon. This is the first solo piano music of Higdon I have heard, and it impresses with its idiomatic grasp of the potential for intricate texture in a dense piano score. Katherine Hoover’s music, even when it is employing big gestures, is very economical. Every note counts. Dream Dances is an aptly descriptive title for the music, which is expressed in a lyrical, rhythmically alert flow. Jing Jing Luo breaks the mood with her agitated, and yes, highly whimsical flight of the mosquito, an insect that seems to fly much more erratically than a bumblebee. You get quite a bite at the end of the piece.
Judith Shatin’s music has been well received in the pages of this magazine, including by myself. I have commented on her strong ability to create a narrative pulse in her work, calling her a natural story teller. That quality is much in evidence in this large and compelling composition. Chai Variations takes its main theme from Jewish liturgical music (and its name from the Hebrew word for life). The brooding theme is followed by 18 variations, with such titles as “Yearning” and “Pensive,” reflecting differing aspects of the human condition, before settling back to the original theme.
Stefania de Kenessey dedicated her Spontaneous D-Combustion to Ernst. I wasn’t sure what to expect, given this rather snarky title, and was surprised by the sprightly three movement work (which she plans to expand into a concerto), which sounds inspired by popular American music from the early jazz age. Even the drawling molto tranquillo at the center seems to wear a quietly contented smile.
The program closes with a gentle, lovely short work by Nancy Bloomer Deussen that seems to reflect the personality of the performer. Mary Kathleen Ernst has many opportunities to dazzle the ear in this recital, and careful listening reveals a formidable virtuosity. But she seems to understand that her primary responsibility is to share the work of this excellent group of American women composers, making the honest and faithful expression of their music her utmost goal. As it should be. Peter Burwasser
Hakka for large orchestra was commissioned by the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra in Taipei, Taiwan . The world premiere will take place at the National Theatre in Taipei, Taiwan on Dec 17, 2014.
The video below is of the World Premiere of jingjingLuo’s Cercel de la Lune at her Art work and Calligraphy Exhibition Opening Night at The Beck Center for the Arts on January 11, 2013.
‘Cercel de la Lune’ for violin, piano and three Javanese gong ageng
Performers: Piano, Haewon Song, Violin, Clara Shannon, conductor, Chiachi Yen, Page turn E.J. Lee, percussion, jingjingLuo and Randall Chaves Camacho
Jing jingLuo’s Ink Brush Calligraphy Art Work Exhibition
Location: The Beck Center for the Arts Gallery, Lakewood, Ohio
Friday, Jan. 11th, through April 11th, 2013
Public Reception: Friday, Jan. 11th, 2013 2-4 pm
Nueva Música Dúo performs Jing Jing Luo’s Beyond Beta at the Festival Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo de León 2008. Recorded in the Auditorio Jorge Ibargüengoitia, Forum Cultural Guanajuato (León, Guanajuato, Mexico) on August 7, 2008.
Multiple Objects 2015
A work written for solo cello and a multiple object player is an environmental themed multimedia work. Multiple Objects utilizes the raw materials, stereo playback, stage setting and movements. Multiple Objects consists of five section: Water, glass bottles, Metal, Air/voice, Tree Weeping/cutting.
Duration: ca. 21′oo”
The Birds 2015
A work for solo flute and stereo playback. The work depicts the damage of the wilderness in the global rainforests.
Duration: ca. 14’30″
Hakka, for orchestra 2014
Commissioned and the World premiere by the Evergreen symphony orchestra in Taiwan, Taipei at the National Music Concert Hall in Taipei on October, 17, 2014.
Spirare, Potes Spirare for flute and cello 2014-15
World premiere by Clarie Chase and Katinka Kleijn on October 12, 2014 at the Cultural Center in Chicago.
Duration: ca. 13’00″
‘angelus lacrimarum’ for tenor saxophone and a string instrument 2014
Commissioned by Gabe Gabriel. A new work written for tenor sax and a string instrument with partial stereo playback. World premiere will be in the spring of 2015 at Music Hall on camps of University of South Carolina.
Duration: ca. 12’00″