Jeremy Denk, piano
6) William Bolcolm: Billy in the Darbies
"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."
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.”
"This is a disc that reflects the wide range of American music in the 20th and 21st century."
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.