Carson COOMAN (b. 1982)
Piano Works
Preludes (9), Op. 722 (2007) [28:20].
La Tricotea, concert piece, (2006) Op. 699 [4:36]
Madrigal, Op. 771 (2008) [4:22]
Lullaby, Op. 806 (after Rameau) (2009) [3:52]
Bear Mountain Fragments, Op. 754 (2008) [5:53]
Summer Solstice, Op. 720 (2007) [7:48]
Madaket Dreaming, (2008) [6:13]
Mountain Toccata Op. 760 (2008) [3:10].
Donna Amato (piano)
rec. Futura Productions, Roslindale, Massachusetts, USA, May 2010.
ALTARUS AIR-CD-9015 [62:40]

We have heard much about the prodigiously productive Cooman: have a look at the list of reviews below. Here the ever-tonal Cooman basks in the inspired pianistic advocacy of Donna Amato – and for the second time on disc. First we have the nine (not twelve) Preludes. The most economical and expressive way of presenting my impressions of the Preludes is a series of notes against each:-

1 insistent but not incessant, obstinate with continuous cell repetition and microscopic variation.
2 centred and tonal - fast and nimble with jazzy dodging left, right and centre
3 Funereal – charting deep realms with and middle-range gestural line emerging
4 More itchy insectiform repetitive chittering – an undercurrent suggestive of hysteria
5 distant echoing and an angular upward-striking ascent
6 moderate signature with what I at first took to be humour
7 slow and very lyrical – halting progress and meandered thoughts
8 military, Prokofiev-style march with fault lines and spalling surfaces
9 a very slow envoi – a voice from afar – parallels the mood of Holst’s Betelgueuse in the Humbert Wolfe Songs.

Cooman is a tonalist and melody evidently matters to him. La Tricotea is a sprint-pulsed Hispanic concert piece. Madrigal affects a deliberate gawkiness. Lullaby (after Rameau) is oddly enough, disjointed yet placid. Bear Mountain Fragments is frankly lyrical. The composer had the Appalachians in mind. The piece is dedicated to fellow composer William Bland recorded on the Bridge label. It is the most Debussian and lyrical of all pieces here. Summer Solstice is a fragmentary whittering piece. Madaket Dreaming was written for pianist, composer and conductor Max Lifchitz. It is one of a series called Nantucket Dreaming: Madaket is on the western side of Nantucket. It is dreamy and calmingly reflective of mirrored waters. Mountain Toccata is in an exhilarating and jazzy idiom inspired by Appalachian music. It is dynamically exciting but evolves into a great upwelling sunrise. Like several of these pieces it is dedicated to pianist Jeffrey Grossmann.

A most sensitively put across collection of pieces written between 2006 and 2009. It’s from a label that espouses the highest standards yet disdains publicity. You have to seek them out. They’re worth the labour.

Rob Barnett

A most sensitively put across collection.

Carson Cooman - MusicWeb International reviews:-

Piano Music - Amato Naxos

Symphonies 2 and 3 Naxos

Sacred Choral Music - Naxos

Chamber Music - Zimbel

Threads - Zimbel

Songs - Albany

Enchanted Tracings - Artek

A Trip to the Sky - MSR

Revolutionary earthworks