Various Artists

Paul Lansky: Etudes and Parodies

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Princeton composer Paul Lansky has spent most of his career writing computer music, and only in his fifties did he turn his attention to music for live performers. He describes himself as a young composer, in a sense, just now learning the ropes. But Lansky is a master at creating engaging and provocative music in a variety of styles, and the pieces on this CD, some of which represent his maiden voyages into acoustic music, are evidence of both the maturity and playfulness of his musical thought. Each of the seven movements of Parodies and Etudes, his trio for horn, violin, and piano, exploits a particular strength of the horn's -- alternating staccato and legato tonguing, sustained tones, ascending leaps, lyric melody, and so on. The short, mercurial movements are clear and direct in their appeal, and the final movement, "Pavane Noire," is especially lovely, with a jazz-inflected horn melody floating over the violin in its lowest register in an accompanying role. Hornist William Purvis, violinist Curtis Macomber, and pianist Mihae Lee play with sensitivity and style. Lansky wrote Semi-Suite, a set of updated Renaissance dances, for guitarist David Starobin, who brings out its wit and quirkiness. The Brentano Quartet plays Ricercare Plus, an elegiac meditation in three movements that's the most abstract and sophisticated piece on the CD. Bridge's sound is clean and present.

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