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ClassicsOnline Home » BYRON, D.: Piano Music (Seven)
Seven – 7 Etudes by Don Byron piano and voice Lisa Moore cantaloupe
How best to describe Don Byron’s Music? He has schizophrenic roots in New York minimalism and Jazz, with lots of African vocal riffs, classical harmony and counterpoint, gospel, ragtime, and show tunes sprinkled on top. At the same time, there’s a very controlled austerity at work, often juxtaposed to whimsy and/or irony, with a further dash of Dada. You have to hear it to believe it! Though, in some way, he is a precursor of the new New York minimalists in his eclecticism, contrasting with that aesthetic, there is not a shred of pop indulgence. After one describes the influences, the music itself has an overwhelming aura of sadness and melancholy than its flip exterior would never initially portray.
In the first Etude Byron locks into an austere minimalism yet moves seamlessly between a more expansive, expanding and contracting of motive cells not unlike the music of Lang or Gordon. The second etude explores highly contrapuntal form of minimalism which becomes ‘eternal’ repeats, which moves into very cool jazz syncopations in the right hand. The third etude explores African vocalizations by Moore, against larger repeated cell groups. Again, there is a kind of Dadaist irreverence versus austere minimal insistence. This almost ‘bebop’ insistence, detours into the ‘eternal’ hypnotic a lot. By the sixth etude, Byron has a mangled ragtime waltz notated like a skipping vinyl record. This movement especially has a lot of fascinating harmonic and rhythmic twists.
Lisa Moore’s playing perfectly captures the psycho-frenetic leaps between all these exacting grooves and pure whimsy, and all the abrupt jazz and classical idioms sandwiched between. Worth checking out!more....
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BYRON, D.: Piano Music (Seven)