Matthew Davidson

Stolen Music

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The theme running through Stolen Music is reappropriation, each piece holding at its core someone else's work. Matthew Davidson drew from Beethoven to folk melodies recorded in remote places and salvaged from 78 rpm records released on Folkways. The composer either uses the recording itself as the sound source for a tape piece or transcribes the melody to incorporate it in an instrumental work. This CD presents seven works: four for tape, three for one or two instruments. Of the tape pieces, the most interesting is "Signor Grinderino," which uses transformations of an organ grinder playing "The Georgia Grind." It's witty and funny. "Between the Lines," blurring the voices of various deceased politicians and personalities, is filled with eye-winking gestures, but the intentional oversaturation of information prevents the listener from truly enjoying it. Of the concert pieces, one retains the first of the "Deux Plaisanteries for Saxophone and Piano." "Roll Jordan Roll" states the melody of the title as gospel and then delves into a series of clever variations in the styles of Stockhausen, Tristano, Webern, and Monk. "Three Elusive Rags for Piano Solo" also works in the field of pastiche and unusual genre cross-pollination. Davidson, an accomplished ragtime pianist, literally fuses elements from classical compositions (Mahler, Bach, and Bartok) with ragtime. Unlike some of the composer's other CDs, Stolen Music displays an interesting cohesion.

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