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I'm seldom fond of music that requires a mathematical explanation. It needs to stand on its own. Perhaps the most approachable segment of Alabama Places describes the winding flow of the Coosa River.

Listen -- Coosa Basin (track 13, 0:02-0:58)
© 2007 Monroe Golden

Another performance with a touch of more conventional grounding is the reprise of the five-movement mini-suite titled 'In Pell City'. The repeat, accessible as an mp3 when the disk is played on a computer, adds spoken poetry to the original keyboard duet.

The performers are thorough professionals who make their best case for Golden's music, but I don't believe the average listener will or should run out to buy this one. Even those unchallenged by Ives' polyphony will need to crank up concentration several notches to track simultaneous musical lines in different tunings. Had I first heard Golden's impressions of Alabama, I might never have visited the state, at least not without a bedside night-light.

I won't go as far as Dana McCormick of The American Record Guide though, who in an otherwise mildly favorable review finished with a wonderfully memorable line, 'If you've ever really listened deeply to a piano being tuned and enjoyed it, this may be for you.' It may also be for you if you are intrigued by the subject of tuning, or are looking for something as much as 48 cents off the beaten path.

Copyright © 13 April 2008 Ron Bierman, San Diego, USA


Monroe Golden: Alabama Places

innova 680 Stereo NEW RELEASE 73'38" 2007 Monroe Golden

Ellen Tweiten, piano; Kurt Carpenter, microtonal keyboard

Monroe Golden: Alabama Places (Iron Road; North Shelby; Natchez Trace; 2365 Cahaba Road; In Pell City I; In Pell City II; In Pell City III; In Pell City IV; In Pell City V; Tensaw; Demopolis; Montevallo; Coosa Basin; Piedmont; Scarham Creek; Section 16); Bonus MP3: In Pell City with poetry by Linda Frost


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