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Mission Accomplished for 'Music in the Loft'

Composers in the Loft: The Music of Ricardo Lorenz, Carter Pann, Pierre Jalbert, Stacy Garrop, Vivian Fung. David Ying, cello; Elinor Freer, piano; Lincoln Trio; Biava Quartet; Maia Quartet; John Bruce Yeh, clarinet. (Cedille 90000 100)


The Music in the Loft project was founded in 1992 in Chicago to offer gifted young chamber groups and composers performance opportunities. This CD illustrates its mission's success. The performers are major competition winners enjoying international careers; the composers are recipients of multiple awards and commissions and teach at prestigious colleges and conservatories. All the featured works, except Jalbert's Trio, are world-premiere recordings.

The composers represent a wide variety of national, cultural, and stylistic backgrounds.

Lorenz's "Bachangó" (1984) uses rhythmic and lyrical elements of Afro-Cuban music. Pann's "Differences" (1998), played by David Ying, cellist of the Ying Quartet (which inaugurated Music in the Loft's first season) and pianist Elinor Freer, includes blues, jazz, a country dance and, most memorably, a somber, beautiful, song-like "Air."

Born to Chinese parents, Fung grew up in Canada and lives in New York. Her Miniatures (2005) shows her Western musical training in jazzy clarinet runs and slides, but also draws on Asian folk music and the sound of gamelan orchestras.

The two remaining works have unusual programs. Jalbert based the rhythms of his Trio's first movement (1998) on the rapid heartbeat of his unborn son; the second movement, dedicated to Mother Teresa, is modeled on the "Agnus Dei" and builds from single lines to a massive, dissonant climax for all three instruments.

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