I covered on these pages an interesting string quartet album by composer-violinist Richard Carr on December 19, 2021. He is back with a new one called Landscapes and Lamentations (Neuma 161). It is a matter of some twelve short and engaging compositions with Carr on violin ion the company of various chamber lineups from the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME).
The works are very well performed and come out of a Pomo Tonal Folksy and even at times a Folk Fiddling sort of immediacy that is easy to appreciate and complex enough not to sound pandering in the least way. The folkishness is not an Americana a la Copeland so much as it is a loosely inventive articulation center with bottom range drone at times and melody atop, and moreover with a kind of unfolding scalular and pentatonic touchstone that is given a poignant musical brilliance.
The beautiful string motion of “Castle Point” seems like a good focal point of the program with its open fiddling excitement and rhythmic momentum. It perhaps is the very opposite of New Age Music as I have sometimes experienced it–that is it is by no means facile or banal, but rather joyously musical and complex.
So perhaps you never expected you might want to hear this music because how could you know? But then you find it brings pleasure, fulfills a need for deep and new things and so it is a good thing! Happily recommended.