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Martin Bresnick: Caprichos Enfanticos / Lisa Moore, piano

Album Summary

>Bresnick, Martin : Caprichos Enfaticos
Performer Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Martin Bresnick is one of the great pragmatists in contemporary music, a composer who will use any sound as long as it speaks vividly and makes narrative sense." - Alex Ross, The New Yorker Composer Martin Bresnick returns to follow up his first Cantaloupe release, The Essential Martin Bresnick (2006) with Caprichos Enfáticos (Emphatic Caprices). A concerto in eight movements for piano/keyboard and percussion quartet, Caprichos Enfáticos was commissioned by Meet the Composer for Cantaloupe artists Lisa Moore, pianist, and So Percussion. The movements are based on Francisco Goya's book of etchings Los Destastres de la Guerra, or The Disasters of War, a piece that laments the excesses and tragedies of war

In live performances, Caprichos Enfaticos is accompanied by video projections created by Johanna Bresnick and based on the Goya works. So Percussion and pianist Lisa Moore inhabit the music with a persuasive, commanding, and detailed performance on record: one can only imagine its powerful impact coupled with Goya's artworks in a live setting.

Moore and So Percussion perform the music with energy and commitment. Cantaloupe Music's sound is clear and appropriately resonant.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Morse Recital in Sprague Memorial Hall, Yale University (04/02/2009).


Martin Bresnick/ Caprichos Enfaticos/Canataloupe
If Caprichos Enfaticos is representative of Mr. Bresnicks work, hes a fascinating combination of three composers. On one side hes an east coaster, obsessed with working out the structure abstractions of music. On another side, he falls sometimes into post minimalist grooves and relaxed repetition. And finally, he has the ability to suddenly flip to a very quirky, whimsical, highly unpredictable, Dadaist side.

The CD is inspired by a series of Goyas hyperexpressionistic, macabre paintings which were part of the original multi-media performance. There is a pent-up violence in some of Bresnicks gestures that easily capture Goyas explosiveness. Meanwhile, the works music language revolves mostly around the Spanish dance, the Farandula. Here the dance periodically returns in various guises and tempi, and is always skillfully woven into the more abstract elements of the music.

The first cut opens with this dance and takes it through various post-minimalist processes as well as a lot of fugal-like entries while the toms keep an insistent groove underneath. In the second movement, the piano enters with the same rhythmic material, only simpler and more lyrical. The piano writing is reminiscent of de Falla (mostly because of the insistent b6) but even more so of Bartok, in the use of octaves to articulate the main pitch structure. The third moment consists of militaristic toms with the piano giving quiet plaintive responses/cries for peace.The 4th cut is the whole ensemble again in another dance, featuring a piano section with interesting octave transfers. The fifth is another dance but each time it returns it is more abstracted, cannibalized, or blown to pieces in a Goya/Webernesque way.The 6th cut has ritualistic percussion accompany a kind of fugal dirge (reminiscent again of Bartok) with a lot of fresh harmonic turns and some beautiful voice leading from the pianist. Movement 7 further strips the dance down to sheds of its former self, to the point it goes into Crumb/Bartok night music territory which is occasional interrupted by the most Dadaist of interruption ; a telephone ringing. The final cut returns to the tom groove of the opening, the piano dancing in while the toms attack overtop.

So Percussion and Lisa Moore (the pianist) does an excellent job of conveying all the delicate intricacies and often-brutal violence of the piece. Worth checking out!

Submitted on 12/28/11 by Mike Maguire 
A very dramatic new work evokes its inspiration
The artwork of Francisco Goya is bold, stark and frequently very sombre. The artist had to live through the atrocities of the Spanish revolution and the Franco regime and, like Picasso's "Guernica". his art is often a reflection of those brutal times. Goya's sketchbook, "Los Desastres de la Guerra" (the Disasters of War)" provides the imagery that composer Martin Bresnick used for this new work for piano and percussion and the resulting music is dramatic, bold and a bit disturbing, as is the source material. Each of the movements to this eight movement concerto, Caprichos Enfaticos (Emphatic Capriccios)" is titled after one of the sketches in the Goya collection. Bresnick uses the provincial Spanish dance, the farandole, as the form for six of the movements. The farandole is typically in 6/8 meter and ranges in tempo from an accented moderato to a highly propulsive allegro. As conceived by Bresnick, this work is intended to be performed in a mutli-media way, with projections of sketches by Johanna Bresnick, the composer's wife, inspired by the Goya originals. I imagine that seeing the visuals projected during performance helps the symbolism and imagery intended by the music, however, Bresnick's score stands very well on its own as a very powerful listening experience. The music is wonderfully written to run a range of emotion from the darkly mysterious (as in mvt. 7 "Strange Devotion") to the violent and chaotic (as in mvt. 2 "Farandole of the charlatans - they don't know the way"). The combination of piano and percussion is not a new form but is a very appealing and inherently dramatic one (the Bartok "Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion" being what for most people is the best known example) Caprichos Enfaticos makes a very solid addition to this genre and credit the performers here for helping to give this piece a very weighty, attention getting interpretation. Pianist Lisa Moore performs with great technique and a moody sensitivity when called for and the percussion ensemble is the renowned new music ensemble, So Percussion; whose work I enjoy every time I hear it. Martin Bresnick is a name you should know. The multiple award winning New Yorker has been composer in residence at an impressive array of colleges, universities and foreign arts festivals and is presently serving as such at Mannes College of Music. He has worked with Cantaloupe Records and the Band on a Can group before. I admit that my exposure to his music is limited, being familiar with his saxophone quartet work Everything Must Go, but this piece absolutely makes me want to go explore more. Caprichos Enfaticos is picturesque and compelling. The music succeeds in peaking one's interest for Goya as well. I recommend this disc highly for anyone fan of So Percussion, anyone who likes piano and percussion and anyone who wants to hear an excellent example of visual art interpreted in sound.
Submitted on 11/07/11 by Dan Coombs 
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Works Details

>Bresnick, Martin : Caprichos Enfáticos :: Los Desastres de la Guerra, for piano & percussion quartet
  • Performer: Lisa Moore (Piano)
  • Ensemble: So Percussion Ensemble
  • Running Time: 30 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2007