From Innova:Robert Moran “Cabinet of Curiosities”

Robert Moran Cabinet of Curiosities
Innova #792

Robert Moran

Christine Augspurger
Dan Moore
Iowa Percussion
Lucas Bernier
Meghan Aube

“Following the critical success of their contribution to Robert Moran’s second Innova CD, Mantra, Dan Moore and Iowa Percussion took on this ambitious new recording, Cabinet of Curiosities.

About Mantra, Sequenza 21 declared: ‘ The three percussion ensemble pieces exude happy and peaceful energies. Of particular note is the work Stirling: It’s Raining Cats and Dogs. This piece, for a gargantuan setup of percussion, does for the rain what Messiaen did for bird calls.’ ‘Iowa Percussion does an absolutely phenomenal job with their three pieces. I hope we hear more from this ensemble in the future.’ They got their wish with Cabinet of Curiosities: The Graphic Percussion Scores of Robert Moran.

This historically important compendium of Moran’s graphic percussion scores from 1962 to 2010, plumbs the depths of this highly creative form of composition — from purely atmospheric sound explorations to studies of rhythm, melody, harmony, and musical interaction. The scores are visual artworks in themselves but come to life in performance where the players use their creative imaginations to interpret the non-standard shapes, signs and instructions.

Created with the audiophile listener in mind, the recording is intimate and transparent, taking the listener on a very personal “elegant journey” through the beautiful and intoxicating world of graphic composition.

The longest work on the disc is Salagrama, for percussion and organ, created for Graz cathedral employing pitches tuned to Kepler’s Harmony of the Spheres.

Percussionist Dan Moore’s expertise ranges from new music to fringe jazz, folk music of the world, and many points in between. Musician, composer, and educator, he travels the world performing his own distinctive brand of music that explores the expressive capabilities of percussion. In 2006, it was pure serendipity when through an unexpected collaboration with choreographer Armando Duarte, the love affair amongst Robert Moran, Dan Moore, and Iowa Percussion began. But Moore had become a Moran aficionado long before their first meeting: “I performed some of his pieces while still a student. I have great admiration for the creativity, beauty, rhythm, and humor of his music.”

Moran, arriving for the first time in Iowa City for that collaboration, found a “dazzling” array of percussion instruments at his disposal, and performers willing to throw themselves headlong into his music. He quickly became an admirer of Iowa Percussion: “I went to Iowa City for this percussion premiere and heard one of the finest performances of any of my scores in my entire career. It was my great fortune to write for this splendid ensemble.”

Philly-based Robert Moran studied with Apostel, Berio, and Milhaud long ago but never aligned himself with any musical ‘-isms.’ His works range from Fluxus type community events to post-Minimal textures, and ‘shamefully Romantic’ languages.”

At Amazon, the CD $13.34; the .mp3 album $8.99