American Modern Ensemble – Star Crossing: Music of Robert Paterson

American Modern Ensemble | Robert Paterson

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This recording contains seven chamber works by American composer Robert Paterson, performed by the New York City based American Modern Ensemble. All of the tracks are for various combinations of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion and piano, with the exception of one of the tracks, Embracing the Wind, for flute, viola and harp, and Elegy for two bassoons and piano.

This world premiere recording is the first recording dedicated entirely to Paterson’s music. It was recorded at the Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City and produced by multi-Grammy winning producer Adam Abeshouse. All works feature combinations of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion, with the exception of Embracing the Wind (flute/alto flute, viola and harp) and Elegy (two bassoons and piano). A few works call for the performers to use police whistles or play exotic percussion instruments. These works are inspired by subjects as diverse as a criminal on the run, space travel, an Olympic athlete, the four classical elements, rock and roll, and the music of J.S. Bach.

Based in New York City, the American Modern Ensemble has quickly become a major force in the New Music scene, having programmed the widest possible repertoire by American composers, and especially living composers. Since its inception, AME has presented over thirty concerts, featuring performances of works by over eighty composers, using a world-class ensemble that includes some of the finest instrumentalists and vocalists in North America. Further information: www.americanmodernensemble.org.

Track Descriptions

  1. Sextet begins with police whistles and is inspired by a criminal running scared from the police, and traveling on old Route 66.
  2. The Thin Ice of Your Fragile Mind is icy and cold-sounding, but also inspired by Arcosanti, a prototype "arcology" in the middle of the Arizona desert.
  3. Star Crossing evokes the feeling of what it would feel like to travel across the galaxy.
  4. Embracing the Wind evokes the image of an Olympic athlete running against the wind.
  5. Elegy is inspired by J.S. Bach's cello suites, and contains embedded quotes of Bach's music.
  6. Skylights is inspired by the skylights at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, and is a study in contrast between light and dark.
  7. Quintus, is a rock-and-roll inspired, groove-oriented, hyper-intense joy ride for instrumental quintet.

Total Time: 60:15

[Star Crossing] is spectacularly varied and colorful.
— Daniel Parkinson, MusoLife
...a noir film for the ears: for fans of dark, suspenseful music, this is heaven…. Count this among the half-dozen best releases of 2011 so far, in any style of music.
— Lucid Culture
Paterson’s music is bright and shiny with a lot of timbral spectacle.
— Jay Batzner, Sequenza21
Vibrantly scored and well crafted… to characterize Paterson’s arrangements, they often seem to shimmer. One is struck by the lustrous quality Paterson evokes…. His is a harmonic language that’s very comfortable, evoking glimpses of tonality, but in fleeting fashion as part of an overall palette that encompasses modality, octatonicism, and post-tonal vignettes as well.
— Christian Carey, New Music Box
Robert Paterson is clearly a very important composer working on the scene today in America, and it comes as no surprise that his music is being performed by major orchestras and ensembles. Accessible and original, his music has been recognized with numerous awards. If you like well-crafted and imaginative contemporary music, you will certainly not be disappointed in this disc, which receives my highest recommendation.
— David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare
...eclectic and offbeat... Immediately engaging on first hearing, all seven pieces offer a depth and complexity that rewards repeat listening. They are beautifully crafted, played with total conviction, and recorded with remarkable clarity and presence by famed producer Adam Abeshouse. I cannot imagine anyone interested in contemporary music wanting to pass this one by.
— Ronald E. Grames, Fanfare