The title of the title work comes from the name given to a Pennsylvania quilt pattern, circa 1865, that reminded the composer of the multi-tracked quartet design (thick layers, repeated patterns, etc.) for this charming percussion piece, featuring a variety of African, Isreali and Moroccan drums. Premiered in 1990, the Requiem: Swan Song is an inspired piece for four choruses and four chamber orchestras dispersed throughout a cathedral. The text is based on the last words of Mozart as recorded by his wfe and sister ("I compose this Requiem for my self...I can smell death...And now I must leave my art behind"). The rhythmic units of the words closely match those of the instrumental parts -- for example, short words occur with pizzicato string notes, choral swells with complementary brass and string sustains. Moran views the work as a "gigantic sound-tapestry...the sounds of some unearthly musical ping-pong game," no doubt an image that would have delighted Mozart who loved dice and billiards and created compositional methods using them. 32 Cryptograms for Derek Jarman is a delightful, highly rhythmic work from 1995, painted in bright timbres for chamber orchestra. Borrowing the bass line of a well-known aria from Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Moran builds cryptograms from pitch aggregates pitches, consulting the I-Ching (John Cage's well-known procedure) to determine the "sound-thickness." Dynamics and repetitions may be altered by performers and conductor. Derek Jarman was the brilliant British filmmaker who was once chosen by Moran to direct his opera Desert of Roses.
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AllMusic Review by "Blue" Gene Tyranny
|Requiem, for 4 choruses & 4 chamber orchestras|