Carson Cooman is a talented New Yorker who, despite being only 32, has composed hundreds of works in many forms, from solo instrumental pieces to operas, and from orchestral works to hymn tunes.
His work has been performed in venues from Carnegie Hall to the basket of a hot air balloon. If you’ve not heard of him and you like modern orchestral music, you should hunt this down. (Now Congleton’s A&A Music has moved into new premises opposite the town hall, you should try them first).
On the evidence of this, Cooman has the knack of writing “classical” music that has popular appeal, and the work on here ranges from highbrow to very accessible “pop” classical. At one point, we thought he was drifting into Simon Bates’s Our Tune theme. It’s an enjoyable album, and we’ve had it on repeat all week. The sound is never less than approachable and wanders between the very English (Vaughan Williams) and the American (Copland).
The opener is the title track, in five movements, featuring mezzo-soprano Leah Crane and a string quintet, using text by Mary Hunter Austin, a nature writer on the subject of the American Southwest. Despite her studying American Indian culture in the Mojave Desert, this could also be England on a sunny day. The Eagle’s Song is perhaps the standout of this composition.
The next five tracks are Sinfonia Concertante, for solo violin and string orchestra. This has a timeless quality thanks to drawing on medieval and Renaissance music.
Symphony Of Light (2003) is in three movements, each inspired by different images and visions connected to light: Winter Brightnesses is the coming dawn on a calm winter day, Eternity Canticle: First Light , is inspired by a passage from the Bible, (“He hath made everything beautiful in its time”) while Dawning is inspired by a summer morning.
The album closes with Folk Fantasies , which takes in Scotland, Nigeria and America.
A fresh, invigorating album, with a crisp, modern sound. It’s not the countryside of a calming summer walk, but rather one on a blustery day, when you’re not quite sure what the weather is going to do.
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