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The final work is Cleveland Swale for the unusual combination of two string basses and piano. Like all of her 'swales', the work creates a collage of varied musical ideas -- including a hymn, some jazzy excursions, lullaby music, and another tango [listen -- track 19, 3:00-4:28].

In total, this is a pleasant release of Anderson's music, although listeners who are unfamiliar with her work are strongly recommended to start with the New World Swales & Angels release -- which contain most specifically her wonderful Piano Concerto and some excellent works for string quartet. By containing many of her characteristic 'swale' works, that disc presents a better introduction to Anderson's art.

Kyle Gann's well-written booklet essay clearly shows great respect and devotion to Anderson's works. However, like previous essays on Anderson's music, there is a strangely 'quasi-defensive' tone to it -- as though he must defend the very simple surfaces of Anderson's music by stating that there necessarily must be more complicated unheard things going on beneath, simply because of her previous background as an avant-garde artist.

In this current era (showing a greater diversity of musical styles than at any point in history), I do not see why such an attitude is necessary in approaching this music. The true, effective simplicity of Anderson's best music should be simply taken for exactly what it is -- and enjoyed for that fact. Differing composers use different tools to create their own personal style. Anderson is a talented composer who expresses exactly what she feels the need to express, using the ideal musical tools for that task.

Copyright © 30 July 2006 Carson P Cooman, Cambridge USA


Beth Anderson: Quilt Music

TROY709 DDD Stereo FIRST RELEASE 76'05" 2004 Albany Records

Joseph Kubera, piano (Quilt Music); Keith Borden, baritone (Cat Songs, Dreaming Fields, Harlem Songs); Johannes Wallmann, piano (Cat Songs, Dreaming Fields, Harlem Songs, Cleveland Swale); Darren Campbell, string bass (Harlem Songs, Cleveland Swale); Ana Milosavljevic, violin (Belgian Tango, Dr Blood, Tales); Terezija Cukrov, piano (Belgian Tango, Dr Blood, Tales), Kirsty Matheson, string bass (Cleveland Swale)

Beth Anderson (born 1950): Quilt Music; Cat Songs (Lazy Pussy; Kilkenny Cats; Tyger Tyger; Hey Diddle Diddle; She Sites A Bird; The Widow and Her Cat); Dreaming Fields (The Sugarplum Tree; The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat; Wynken, Blynken, & Nod); Harlem Songs (Song; Southern Roads; Tableau; While You Love Me); Belgian Tango; Dr Blood's Mermaid Lullaby; Tale No 1; Tale No 2; Cleveland Swale




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