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Meditations & Overtones

> 4 Meditations from Dogen - I. Poco andante, amabile
> 4 Meditations from Dogen - II. Allegro brilliante
> 4 Meditations from Dogen - III. Adagio
> 4 Meditations from Dogen - IV. Adagio
> Sonata breve - Sonata breve
> Variations on Empty Space - Variations on Empty Space
> 5 Improvisations, Op. 148 - No. 1 in A major
> 5 Improvisations, Op. 148 - No. 2 in A major
> 5 Improvisations, Op. 148 - No. 3 in G major
> 5 Improvisations, Op. 148 - No. 4 in G flat major
> 5 Improvisations, Op. 148 - No. 5 in E flat minor
> Tones in Overtones - I. Prime
> Tones in Overtones - II. Triads and Clusters
> Tones in Overtones - III. Scales open and closed
> Tones in Overtones - IV. Tetrachord

Album Summary

>Feigin, Joel : Meditations from Dogen (4), for piano
>Schonthal, Ruth : Sonata Breve, for piano
>Feigin, Joel : Variations on Empty Space, for piano
>Beach, Amy : Improvisations (5) for piano, Op. 148
>Coates, Gloria : Sonata for Piano no 1 ("Tones in Overtones")
Performer Composers
Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, University of California, S (04/03/2009-04/04/2009).



Reviews

A somewhat pointless collection of pieces good and bad
My first reaction to this disc was, why this group of composers? Then I saw that three of them were women composers. Amy Beach was represented on the CD and I want to hear anything of hers. She is an excellent composer whose name, had she been a man, would be a household word. I started with her Five Improvisations (yes, Op 148!). These pieces are not up there with her great works, but they are well composed and charming. OK. Next, the Sonata No. 1 by Gloria Coates. A good and interesting piece, satisfyingly pianistic, from another prolific woman composer (15 symphonies, 8 string quartets) who has doubtless written some big, dramatic, and important music. Ingeniously composed and more than charming. Getting better. Then, from Ruth Schonthal, the one movement Sonata Brevis, essentially a formula piece without thrust or content, an inoffensive paint-by-numbers piece that substitutes different styles for colors. Well constructed, and pointless. The lone male composer on the album is Joel Feigin who is represented here by two compositions, his 1994 "Four Meditations from Dogen" and his 2008 "Variations on empty space" (aptly named). These works did nothing for me and struck me as devoid of even a touch of genuine, well, anything. And I found myself wondering again, why this group of composers? And especially, why Joel Feigin? I have great enthusiasm for the performance of the music of women composers. They have gotten the short end of the stick, no doubt. But for that very reason, the works should be their best. The Coates work is the one really winning piece of the lot. In it she posed interesting challenges to herself and acquitted herself admirably. I also believe that the music of our time must be played and recorded. The good stuff is as good as that from any of the last 10 centuries, and it has been pitifully ignored in favor of the 43rd recording of - name a work from column A and a 19th century composer from column B. But again, because of that the really good new music must receive the attention. I have not mentioned the playing of Ms. Mills because I don't really have much to say about it. She is a capable pianist. Would a pianist of genius have been able to make more of this music than she. I don't know. I hope so. So I would say, save the Beach for a collection of her work in which these pieces are the weakest of the bunch, put the Coates on a CD of some really great works by Louise Talma and a few other women whose genius should shame us all, send the other two home.
Submitted on 06/26/10 by Leni Bogat 
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Works Details

>Feigin, Joel : Meditations from Dogen (4), for piano
  • Performer: Margaret Mills (Piano)
  • Notes: Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA (04/03/2009-04/04/2009)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1994

>Schonthal, Ruth : Sonata Breve, for piano
  • Performer: Margaret Mills (Piano)
  • Notes: Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA (04/03/2009-04/04/2009)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1972

>Feigin, Joel : Variations on Empty Space, for piano
  • Performer: Margaret Mills (Piano)
  • Notes: Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA (04/03/2009-04/04/2009)
  • Running Time: 12 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 2008

>Beach, Amy : Improvisations (5) for piano, Op. 148
  • Performer: Margaret Mills (Piano)
  • Notes: Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA (04/03/2009-04/04/2009)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1934

>Coates, Gloria : Sonata for Piano no 1 ("Tones in Overtones")
  • Performer: Margaret Mills (Piano)
  • Notes: Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA (04/03/2009-04/04/2009)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary