REVIEWS OF STRANGE EXCLAIMING MUSIC
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American Record Guide, November/December 2009 (vol 72, no 6)
MOE: Strange Exclaiming Music
Curtis Macomber, v; Stephen Gosling, p; Michael Lipsey, perc; New York Saxophone Quartet; Rascher Saxophone Quartet; DoublePlay Percussion Duo; Columbus State University Percussion Ensemble/Paul Vaillancourt
Naxos 559612 - 65 minutes
This is an outstanding addition to Naxos's "American Classics" series. Eric Moe is highly regarded in contemporary-music circles, especially among the younger generation, and is usually singled out for the way his music straddles the :cultural divide: between popular and art music. That is hardly a unique aesthetic position these days, but Moe is especially adept at synchronizing his source influences in a language that is distinct, consistent, and emotionally rich.
This collection displays his facility across a range of instrumental and formal contexts, with uniformly first-cass performances that underline Moe's expressive scope. I Have Only One Itching Desire (for six percussionists), Flex Time (for solo violin), and the outer movements of Market Forces (for saxophone quartet), with their relentless rhythms and limited (if not purely triadic) pitch content, most clearly evoke the post-minimalist idiom Moe is often associated with. And Down the Stream, Merrily (for two marimbas) is a transparent-enough illustration of Moe's proclivity toward pop harmonies and steady, percolating patterns. But Strange Exclaiming Music (for violin and piano, in stellar reading by Curtis Macomber and Stephen Gosling) - a work of playful virtuosity and formal complexity, which exploits the full range of expressive potential in both instruments and their combination - defies such easy categorization, and its smart placement at the beginning of the program prepares the listener for similar detail in the other pieces.