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Miracles
MUSIC BY LAWRENCE MOSS


Cover Art : "The Red Pointer" by Hans Hoffmann

Available at your favorite digital etailers
including iTunes, Rhapsody and eMusic

Catalog Number: CPS-8619
Audio Format: Stereo, DDD
Playing Time: 62:10
Release Date: 1995

Track Listing & Audio Samples
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  1. Ten Miracles
    James McDonald, tenor
    Edward Walters, clarinet
    Ruth Ann McDonald, piano
     
2.
Songs of the Earth and Sky
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    Nan Hughes, mezzo-soprano
    Mark Steinberg, violin
    David Krakauer, clarinet
    Cheryl Seltzer & Joel Sachs, piano 4-hands
     
  3. Portals
    James McDonald, tenor
    Ruth Ann McDonald, piano
     
  4. Two Songs to Poems by Emily Dickinson
    Pamel Jordan, soprano
    Nanette Butler Shannon, piano
     
  5. Six Short Pieces for Alto Saxophone and Piano
    Reginald Jackson, saxophone
    Jessica Krash, piano
     
  6. Hommage for Piano 4-Hands
    Constance Sablinsky & Barbara Rowan, piano
     
  7. Saxpressivo for Alto Saxophone and Tape
    Randy Navarre, saxophone
     
  8. China
    for tape along

 

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Reviews

The New York Times - February 28, 1996 - by Allan Kozinn

"In Songs of the Earth and Sky" (1990), Lawrence Moss set seven ancient Chinese poems in a language that at first seemed acerbic but proved to be dramatic and nicely wedded to the texts. Shelly Watson, a soprano characterized each of the short pieces with appealing efficiency."


Twentieth Century Music - June, 1999 - by Phillip George

"There's a little bit of the everyday and a little bit of the miraculous in Lawrence Moss's Capstone release, Miracles. The album opens with both in the somewhat titular Ten Miracles, a song cycle to children's poems for tenor, clarinet, and piano. Like some contemporary Schubertian Shepherd on the Rock, Moss has a gift for turning the commonplace into something quite fresh, reflecting the youth of his collaborators: child poets -- from the Australia, the United States, and New Zealand -- ranging in age from four to 13. Schubert comes more specifically to mind in the word painting in the lines "Ride the four winds" in the third poem (less continuous dotted-rhythm and perpetual motion figures as a refracted "Erlking"). The brief, haikulike settings continue in equally descriptive "Thunder" and "Rain." In the "Interlude" (unacknowledged among the list of cuts) and the sixth song, "November," the pleasing influence of Messiaen seems particularly apropos here in haunting clarinetist Edward Walters's abyss where "The birds have all flown..."

A little tougher and wider ranging are Songs of the Earth and Sky, a setting of seven Chinese poems for the unusual, and in this case first-rate, ensemble of mezzo-soprano (Nan Hughes), violin (Mark Steinberg), clarinet (David Krakauer), and piano four-hands (Cheryl Seltzer and Joel Sachs). More clustery and pointillistic material calls to mind a severer Messiaen, with a touch of Schoenberg and Stravinsky. The "Winter Night" evokes an eerie world of taps, tremoli, and glissandi in the darkness.

The joy continues in Portals, with "Joy, Shipmate, joy!," the first of three Walt Whitman settings joyously and sensitively performed by tenor James McDonald and pianist Ruth Ann McDonald, both of whom also grace the opening selections. The whole-tone scale fragments continue as well, with the addition of a little judicious inside-the-piano work. Moss's American literary interests continue in Two Songs to Poems by Emily Dickinson, ably retold by soprano Pamela Jordan and pianist Nanette Butler Shannon.

The album then turns on the first of two dimes, this one being a sidestep into purely instrumental music, first in the animated Six Short Pieces for Alto Saxophone and Piano, worked out athletically and gracefully by Reginald Jackson and Jessica Krash. The course of selections that includes filigreed and repeated-note figures for prepared piano that could fit comfortably into a George Crumb work. Next Constance Sablinsky and Barbara Rowan try their hand at the fourhanded in Hommage for Piano 4-Hands; and, we have to hand it to them... they succeed.… The homage is to Darius Milhaud, whose La Creation du Monde is quoted in the first of three movements, and whose playful, tuneful, bitonal spirit is saluted in the last.

The second dime reasonably connects with the first. The ghost of Adolphe Sax returns in Saxpressivo for Alto Saxophone and Tape. What changes are the boundaries, which become much wider in this and the closing China for tape alone -- a music so strikingly different that at first I thought that another CD had begun. Both these latter utilize sampling keyboards, and it is a pleasure as well to sample the samples of saxophonist Randy Navarre's fine playing. The saxophone samples at times give the illusion of a live ensemble and at other moments transmogrify into extraordinary sax squeezeboxes, sheng-like glissandi. and Harry Partchian chromelodic wheezes. Add some bluesy licks over top and you've got quite a combination. China sounds farthest away, not only because of the indigenous samples, but also because of the added Western organizational sensibilities. Interesting, if not totally convincing from a stylistic point of view. The media definitely make the message here."