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Extremely Prolific

Music by
Carson P Cooman,
reviewed by

Zimbel    ZR108

Small Bear, Large Telescope - Music of Carson Cooman. © 2006 Zimbel Records

From what can be learned from his impressive website the extremely prolific Mr Cooman began composing about twelve years ago and has written for just about every standard eventuality -- and a few unlikely ones too. Some years ago I reviewed a recording of Threads: A concerto for orchestra, written in 2003 with the opus number 500.

Here now is a new CD featuring yet another concerto for orchestra, the Pittsburgh Concerto, completed in 2005 as Op 652. It is a single movement piece written for the orchestra of the prestigious music faculty at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, conceived as a tribute to the city, its history, landscapes and industries. Its eleven minutes are made up of six loosely connected sections, many appropriately featuring solo instruments, and contains some picturesque orchestration [listen -- track 1, 9:50-11:07].

The other pieces presented on this 2006 recording are all recent. A Horn Trio (2004; Op 572) has six short movements that ambitiously make up 'a celebratory contemplation of the relationship between this world and the cosmos that contains it'. The CD's title is the last movement of this trio. And the latest pieces are a single movement Concerto for Bass Trombone and Six Players (2006; Op 678) and a quintet for horn and string quartet called Shining Space (2006; Op 685) written as a wedding present for friends, its serene central movement 'a series of canons ... representing two lives intertwining'. The brief and swift finale ('Chasing Wildflower') does contain some inventive material [listen -- track 11, 0:50-1:44] but, as seems characteristic of much of his work, falters when development is needed.

Music simply pours from Mr Cooman's pen (or computer). Not much that I have heard is very remarkable, but the fact that there might be few weeks in any year without a Cooman performance or premier is evidence of some kind of admiring and devoted following. As he is also an organ recitalist, a pianist, critic, writer and music consultant, he perhaps allows little time for development. His rate of production implies an average of one work a week, which suggests he may be attaining Op 1000 in seven years time. Maybe better to slow down and appraise the craft, unless quantity earns better than quality.

Copyright © 17 September 2007 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Small Bear, Large Telescope - Music of Carson Cooman

ZR108 Stereo FIRST RELEASE 65'04" 2006 Zimbel Records

Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, conducted by Efraín Amaya (Pittsburgh Concerto); Ostap Shutko, violin (Horn Trio); Petro Hrushovenko, horn (Horn Trio); Natalia Tolmacheva, piano (Horn Trio); James Siders, bass trombone (Bass Trombone Concerto); Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble, conducted by Walter Morales (Bass Trombone Concerto); Konstantin Sokol, horn (Shining Space); The Ukrainian Quartet : Ostap Shutko, Valentina Voskresenskaya, Alexandr Pogorelov, Alena Ikayeva (Shining Space)

Carson P Cooman (born 1982): Pittsburgh Concerto (2005); Horn Trio (2004); Concerto for Bass Trombone and Six Players (2006); Shining Space: Quintet for Horn and Strings (2006)





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