Poetic Music

Pause and Feel and Hark (Innova)
Jeremy Beck

By Daniel Gilliam

Louisville composer Jeremy Beck has released a collection of songs on the Innova label that captures a poetic voice too often absent from "modern" composers. Beck admittedly and unashamedly claims the melodic voice as his own and describes in the liner notes a development of this compositional idiom through out his career.

This 2006 release, pause and feel and hark, represents some of the composer's work from 1994 and 1997. "The Sonata No. 3" ("Moon") for cello and piano, performed by Emilio Colón and Heather Coltman, is a deeply personal work displaying Beck's love for the cello. This sonata sings with elegance and uncompromising identity and is played in this recording with equal fervor and care. Each movement is accompanied by a poetic phrase that adds a visual dimension to an abstract, aural art.

Jeremy Beck continues his exploration of poetry and music with "Songs Without Words" for flute and harp. Each movement of this work intends to capture the poetic structure and tone of its accompanying text from the writers Pablo Neruda, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Vikram Seth. Elizabeth Sadilek and Gretchen Brumwell are sensitive to these texts in their playing, coaxing every bit of meaning from their notes and rhythms.

The final and markedly dramatic work in this collection is "Black Water," an adaptation by the composer of the novel by Joyce Carol Oates. In this monodrama for soprano and piano, delivered by Jean McDonald and Robin Guy, Beck takes the listener on a journey that eschews linear time to create a vivid, first person and fictional account of the events at Chappaquidick in 1969. This is a gripping musical setting, full of the emotion that is so clear in Oates' text.

For more about Jeremy Beck, please visit www.beckmusic.org.