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Attractive ideas

The music of
Joseph M Levin,
reviewed by

Hudson Music House    JL9107

Passageways - Joseph M Levin. © 2003 Hudson Music House

Self promotion is fine, and for a composer the issue of several pieces on disc with the co-operation of very capable players is excellent. But in the end it is the quality of the music rather than the players that must face the world. In this instance, there is some very worthy technical proficiency, and some useful and attractive musical ideas -- and yet nothing that makes an impact or that could not have been written maybe seventy or eighty years ago. A pity there is very little detail about Joseph M Levin in the slim insert beyond news of a composition course with Leo Edwards at Mannes College, New York City, and jazz studies with Eric Goletz.

The CD contains a short string quartet movement, a suite of four pieces for brass quintet, and solo pieces for piano, trombone, and cello. All the pieces are short and stylistically nostalgic -- as, for instance, the almost familiar White Russian for string quartet [listen -- track 1, 0:02-0:54].

The best of the four-movement brass quintet, Henry VIII is the finale, Treason [listen -- track 6, 0:01-1:16]. And a short wayward piano piece, Serious Child, would be an attractive and useful addition to educational publications [listen -- track 11, 0:00-0:58]. But there is a long way to go before Levin finds something individual to say with his undoubted competence.

Copyright © 26 May 2005 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Passageways - Joseph M Levin

JL9107 Stereo 35'35" 2003 Hudson Music House

John K Andersen, violin; Ragga Petursdottir, violin; Junah Chung, viola; Robert Burkhart, cello; Edward Laurel, piano; Kyle Resnick, trumpet and cornet; Amir El Saffar, trumpet; Tim McCarthy, horn; Haim Avitsur, trombone; Kyle Turner, tuba; Peter Prosser, cello (Passageways); Shannon Seals, cornet

Joseph M Levin: White Russian (string quartet); Rip Tide (piano); Henry VIII (trumpets, horn, trombone, tuba) (Coat of Arms; Still Born; Fool's Fugue; Treason: It Could Be True); Passageways (cello) (Writings on the Wall; Echoes; Safe Harbor); Black Bear Walking (trombone); Serious Child (piano); Battle Cry of Freedom (cornets)


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