George Crumb

Makrokosmos, Vol. 3: Music for a Summer Evening

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This first recording of Crumb's 1974 work remains the yardstick that the recent burst of new recordings (four at least in the last five years) must be measured against. Inspired by Bartok's work for two pianos and percussion, Crumb's often jarring composition takes listeners into nature and beyond into something galactic without being pretentious -- the space you feel around the wind and water in the piece could just as well be the coldness of the universe. Using such diverse percussive instruments as Tibetan prayer stones, African log drums, and a musical jug, Crumb creates five movements, the second and fourth for the piano duo and solo percussionist, respectively. The fourth, particularly, titled "Myth," is a striking assault of shouts, clangs, and crashes; the finale, "Music of the Starry Night," hints at some divine power within the cosmos as it ends on lilting half-melody on piano.

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