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The moon is an ever-popular musical inspiration. Canadian pianist Jennifer King chose 12 solo piano works by six Canadian composers for their environmental relationship to the moon, night and outer space in this “Canadian version” sequel to her earlier recording. Each was released as a single to a monthly full-moon cycle related to folk and Mi’kmaq symbolism. Together, King’s self-described “musical meditative journey” takes off!
Opening track, In the Falling Dark 1 by Derek Charke, sets the musical twilight moon stage with chorale opening, repeated notes, calming sparse parts and improvisations. Kevin Lau’s The Dreamer is an accessible mystical dreamworld soundscape held together by repeated E flat “heartbeat” notes. Sophie Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté’s Nocturne shows off King’s expertise in playing an expressive Chopin/Schumann influenced work. Sandy Moore’s three Nocturnes combine classical and modern music. Nocturne 3’s lyrical opening makes for relaxing moon watching until lower pitches and fast lines build dramatic tension before returning to a hopeful reflective closing.
Three Richard Gibson works include Espaces in which I love the outer space tranquility created silences interspersed by few notes, ringing strings and atonal moments. Emily Doolittle’s Gliese 581c looks at a planet from outer space with faster high and contrasting dark sounds. Short, crisp, sudden flash-freeze chords and slower frost forming overlapping patterns in Amy Brandon’s brilliant Frost Moon. Jean Coulthard’s Image Astrale is dramatic out of this world sonic listening featuring contrasting harmonic textures.
King’s sensitive performances make for moving moonlight listening.