Mary Ellen Childs

Mary Ellen Childs: Kilter

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A collection of six compositions by this composer who prefers to work using her intuition and sense of musical balance, rather than employ specific compositional systems to create her lyrical compositions that delight in rhythmic variation and subtlety of mood. Four of One of Another (1988) for accordion and string quartet modulates from an initially peaceful state to some energetic propulsions, with occasional sighing passages. Parterre (1988) is a bright work with multiple pulsings and lovely melodic patterns, for accordion, saxes, winds and vocal. The Capacity of Calm Endurance (1990) for piano is built from a cyclic reiteration of the same body of notes that is played for the most part in an extremely quiet dynamic, but every once in a while the pianist steps forth in either an aggressive flurry of notes or a comparatively florid romantic style. Whistling in the Dark (1993) for solo accordion is similar to the previous work in its use of a set body of tones are reiterated in shifting rhythmic cycles, at times almost, but not quite lapsing into dance patterns. Kilter (1992) is a wonderful study of rhythmic counterpoint for two pianists employing delicately restrained energy and approaches used in the previous two works. Night (1992) for soprano and piano is a plaintive song, an echo of a wandering soul.

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