February 11, 2014

Lark Quartet: Composing America

The music on this varied, imaginative CD answers that question definitively: this is an America of vital, forcefully argued concert music with roots deep in the American vernacular.

Bridge Records
Apple Music

About the album

Jeremy Denk, piano
Lark Quartet

Track List

John Adams: John's Book of Alleged Dances
1) Judah to Ocean
2) Dogjam
3) Habanera
4) Toot Nipple
5) Rag the Bone

6) William Bolcolm: Billy in the Darbies

Aaron Copland: 2 Pieces for String Quartet
7) No. 1, Lento molto. Tranquillo legato
8) No. 2, Rondino. Allegro moderato

Paul Moravec: Piano Quintet
9) Piano Quintet: I. —
10) Piano Quintet: II. —
11) Piano Quintet: III. —

"American composer Paul Moravec, asked to write a short work for the SOLI Chamber Ensemble’s 20th anniversary, responded with a sort of Dagwood canapé, a mere four minutes in duration but stacked sky-high with a fridgeful of ideas."
Classical Voice North America
While Moravec is a broadly tonal composer, the opening reveals music that is spare, delicate and mysterious. The organization of the ideas is not only skilled and restrained but also has a circular quality – motifs and gestures heard in the first movement recur later on. As Andrew Waggoner puts it in his booklet note: ‘Everything comes around in this work, around and together and apart again.’ It is a very well-written piece and one that draws on some extremely refined sonorities from the ensemble. It’s hard to imagine a more committed and carefully prepared performance – Denk and the Lark Quartet make a compelling case for it.”
International Record Review
"This is a disc that reflects the wide range of American music in the 20th and 21st century."
Audiophile Audition
Most impressive [on this disc] is Paul Moravec’s 23-minute, profoundly conservative, deeply absorbing Piano Quintet, commissioned in 2006 to honor the philanthropist Adam Aronson. Amid the rigorous charting of its blueprinted lines, textures and occasional harmonic ecstasies, there are astonishing moments of physical beauty, such as [the piano’s] sumptuous solo opening the second movement.
…the Piano Quintet by Paul Moravec allows the [Lark Quartet] to respond to their stiffest challenge of all as they interact with pianist Jeremy Denk in a work that keeps all our artists constantly alert for the diverse ways its shape is constantly changing through morphing blue notes, stacked fifths in the piano, and textures that are variously terse and spiky, broadly stated, and luminous. This work will reveal more of its beauties to the listener upon repeated audition, something for which the artists share credit with the composer.
Audio Video Club of Atlanta