Academic journal article Notes

Kyle Gann

Academic journal article Notes

Kyle Gann

Article excerpt

Kyle Gann. Private Dances. Sarah Cahill; Da Capo Chamber Players; Bernard Gann. New Albion NA 137, 2007.

It is difficult to put one's finger on exactly what it is that makes Kyle Gann's music so affecting. This set of five works, three for piano solo (played by Sarah Cahill), one for a quintet of winds, cello and piano, and one for a quintet of winds, cello and piano, and one for a quintet of winds, sampling keyboards and fretless electric bass, is consistently quiet in mood, but is never exactly either contemplative or somber. The only word that comes immediately to mind is impassive, but that is not right either. Watchful might be better, although the term may be more apt than really helpfully descriptive. In any case, despite the somewhat varied textures and tempi of these pieces, they all share a similar feeling, one that is emotionally calm and almost dry. The title piece is a six-part suite for solo piano, capably played by Sarah Cahill, each movement titled with a "mood" word starting with the letter S--"Sexy," "Sultry," "Swingin," etc. However, only a few of these pieces convey moods that actually correspond well to their titles. "Sad" and "Sultry" seem almost tonally interchangeable, though both blues chord progression and a nominally swinging rhythm, it really might have been more accurately titled "Stumpy" or (breaking the naming convention) "Blocky. …

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