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Star Crossing: Music of Robert Paterson

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Audio CD, December 16, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This recording contains seven chamber works by American composer Robert Paterson, performed by the New York City based American Modern Ensemble. 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:


Paterson writes in a style I call, for want of a better term, neo-virtuosic. His music is complex, colorful, imaginative, adept, and yes, virtuosic. Figurations are tossed around adroitly between instruments, evoking constantly shifting colors, textures, rhythms, and melodic fragments. However, this is not done haphazardly, but in a way that compellingly carries the listener along with Paterson to the end of the work. I suspect his music must be as much fun to play as it is to listen to... Performances by members of the American Modern Ensemble and recorded sound are everything any composer could hope for. 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 (3/2011)

...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 (5/2011)
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 16, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: American Modern Recordings
  • ASIN: B004GIKVI8
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,838 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jon Golbe on December 17, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I don't know if I have the most developed ear for classical music, but I can tell that Star Crossing is really great. It conveys feelings of beauty, movement and, often, foreboding-- like walking through an icy forest or some alien swamp planet. The sound is soulful, meditative, clean, and rich, with many interesting, subtle elements that will reward repeat listening-- though not with so much going on that you can't pick out each instrument in the mix.

Star Crossing works for whether you want to just listen to the music with no other distractions, or whether you want it to be the background to some other aspect of your daily life. It could be particularly appropriate to listen to on the way to work, lending a heightened air of drama to an otherwise mundane commute.

Favorite track, as of right now: The Thin Ice of Your Fragile Mind
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By weis1110 on January 26, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I have begun nearly every day with Star Crossing since getting it. Every time I play it, something new makes me fall in love with it all over again. Star Crossing takes me to new places with every listen: one moment I'm in the far desert reaches on an adventure, the next I'm rising and falling in a sea of suspensful anticipation. Good composition is such a great find, and this is most certainly it! Star Crossing for me is soulful and inspiring. I am so thankful to have found such a great collection of music.
This work is for anyone wishing to escape into wonderful composition. These pieces help me to find beauty and evoke wonderful imagery in my daily life. This makes an amazing addition to anyone's music collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CKC411 on December 31, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Each time I play Star Crossing I hear something new. The storytelling element of the music transcends typical contemporary composition to provide the listener with an evocative experience that leads to a unique and personal journey. Each track offers something new and different, yet each piece works with the others. Star Crossing effortlessly merges the very best of classical, theater, chamber, and popular music with impeccable technique -- simply a stunning collection of music and a must-have for music lovers.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Robert Paterson is a living American composer who has won numerous modern music awards for his compositions. He studied composition with Christopher Rouse and Samuel Adler at Eastman, where he obtained his undergraduate degree. He received his Masters of Music at Indiana University. He has also studied with John Harbison. The present album features his American Modern Ensemble playing six of his smaller works. This is my first exposure to the music of Paterson. Much of his music is very modern and difficult, but some is quite beautiful in a conventional sense. The physical cardboard enclosure unfolds unlike most and that is your first clue that this will not be a conventional experience.

According the notes for the disc, Sextet was inspired by a TV show that depicted the corrupt activities of criminals. Such lives would, of course, include the police in all but the most successful, and the piece begins with the toot of a police whistle. The music depicts imaginary scenes such as running from the police, traveling on the interstate, and nightmares. These activities provide a multiplicity of mood, character, and activity states embodied by the music. While not easy music to appreciate, Paterson's music has incredibly more value than the individuals depicted by the music.

The Thin Ice of Your Fragile Mind is a modern piece of what begins with a brief, simple, and uncommonly beautiful theme that is repeated several times by different instruments. Before long, the piece evolves into an extended development section during which fragments of the theme are tossed and turned with recapitulations of the original theme occurring several times. At times, the tempo quickens and the character changes. Finally, the original theme returns and peaceful serenity is restored.
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