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Beth Anderson's
'Quilt Music' -
reviewed by

'... true, effective simplicity ...'

Beth Anderson: Quilt Music. © 2004 Albany Records

American composer Beth Anderson (born 1950) has seen three full CD releases of her music in the past few years. The previous two discs (Swales & Angels on New World and Peachy Keen-O on Pogus) focus, respectively, on her recent and early works.

Anderson's earlier music fell firmly into the avant-garde tradition of John Cage. She studied in California with Cage, Terry Riley, Robert Ashley, Richard Swift, Helen Lipscomb, and Larry Austin. She currently lives in Brooklyn and is an active composer in the New York City area.

In dramatic contrast to her early music, Anderson's recent works are extremely conservative in style -- exploring a tonal world. Her favorite form is one she invented herself. Entitled 'swale', it is inspired by marsh lands where many kinds of plant life grow together in a close area. As such, she combines a number of different musical idioms (although all tonal ones) together. This disc only contains one of her 'swales', but she has composed many of them.

This new disc focuses again on her more recent music, though containing a number of pieces from directly after her style change.

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Copyright © 30 July 2006 Carson P Cooman, Cambridge USA


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