A weekly rundown of the music our staff and listeners are loving lately! Are you interested in contributing some thoughts on your favorite new music albums? Drop us a line!
Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and let waves of lush, tonal music wash over you, and Nancy Galbraith’s music seems to be perfectly suited to those moments. Nancy’s music combines evocative, atmospheric sounds with driving rhythms and changing, dance-like meters. This most recent album presents works written for large chamber ensemble, solo piano, and large orchestra, all composed in the past four years. It features premiere performances given by students and faculty of Carnegie Mellon University, Galbraith’s resident institution, that were prepared in close collaboration with the composer and present an intimate picture of her creativity. – by Geoffrey Larson
Somewhere in between theatre and chamber music lives The Devil’s Tale, a sequel to Stravinsky’s L’Histoire Du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) but told backwards, turning the entire program into a kind of palindromic dance with the devil. This time, though, our protagonist Joseph triumphs in the end over the devil’s constant attempts to bring him down with his too-good-to-be-true offers by playing a trick of his own. Musically, the composer, James Stephenson, continues Stravinsky’s odd, rhythmically off-kilter score with his own unique version, occasionally borrowing little themes from L’Histoire. Stephenson closes the piece with the opening line from The Soldier’s Tale, bringing the palindromic dance to a close. – by David Wall
I can’t help but listen with my eyes first – I’m a sucker for artistic, unique album art. Martin Kennedy’s Trivial Pursuits delivers on the visual aesthetic and the aural stimulation. The title track, performed here by Lara St. John and Martin Kennedy is a celebration of their friendship and mutual love for the game Trivial Pursuit. Six unique musical sections and themes represent the six pie pieces one seeks to collect in the game. The Piano Sonata and Piano Concerto are great additions to the 21st century repertoire as well, showcasing playful lines, brooding harmonies, and musical depth. – by Maggie Stapleton