Recording: American Tonal
Tower Records, February 1, 1999

“American Tonal is an enterprising CD… played with stunning virtuosity”

American Tonal is an enterprising CD pairing two large-scale American works of great distinction, both of which are played with stunning virtuosity by Jeanne Golan. Alternately explosive and ruminative, Barber’s Sonata is full of intricate harmonies and nonstop vitality. The first movement utilizes some jazz rhythms and the sprightly second movement contains a brief passage that recalls a Chopin waltz. The Adagio mesto is possessed of a moody ambiguity while the final movement has a jaunty American feel to it. The Nocturne, “Homage to John Field,” is a compositionally cunning work: while it contains hints of a twelve-tone procedure, it never strays from its gorgeous, cantabile melody. The Ballade is more sparse and marked by a moody restlessness that Golan captures beautifully.

Daron Hagen’s Qualities of Light, written in 1998, is a magnificent work destined to become a concert staple. The first of its three movements, “Dusk,” is filled with a tranquillity that effectively captures the end of the day; “Built Up Dark” is alternately moody and clangorous while the tuneful “Gloaming” shimmers and glistens with the return of light.

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