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R.E.B., February 2002

"Young American composer Carter Pann (b. 1972) is showcased on this fine CD... This is an intriguing disk, nothing of major musical importance but pleasant to listen to and superbly played by the Czech orchestra under Serebrier. Barry Snyder, who was one of Pann's piano teachers, is the fine pianist in the concerto. Naxos' sonic quality is state-of-the-art."

Rad Bennett

"Carter Pann is just 28 years old, but already he has won several prestigious awards and generally grabbed the attention of the music world with his amiable compositions. His music is quite eclectic and he is prone to shamelessly quote from the works of others to make a point. The last movement of the Piano Concerto is titled 'Concert,' and it contains a bit of the third movement of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony to enhance the idea of a melee and a grand, grand ending. The Dance Partita makes a direct quote from Ravel's La Valse and even throws in Beethoven's 'Emperor' concerto while making allusions to different dance styles, including Copland's Americana works. The Deux séjours sound like newly discovered Gymnopédies by Satie and are the most beautiful music on the CD, their melodies hovering like morning mist or evening shadow over gently swaying accompaniments.

"All of Pann's works are good-natured and his musical jokes do work in a larger context rather then merely calling attention to themselves. The composer's piano teacher at Eastman, Barry Snyder, plays the concerto with exuberance, poetry, and authority, and the orchestra plays with flair and accuracy for composer/conductor José Serebrier. The recorded sound is excellent, and, in sum, this is a recording of contemporary music that can be enjoyed by any listener."

Scott Morrison

"Carter Pann is a hugely talented 28-year-old composer, student of, among others, William Albright and William Bolcom at the University of Michigan.

"The overall comment I would make about Pann's music is that he is a master orchestrator, a brilliant pasticheur, a sly practitioner of musical humor, and that he is capable of some of the most lusciously melodic and moving slow music.

"The piano concerto has five movements. The first, entitled Pina Colada (yes, inspired by that silly pop song of some years ago), is a loose-jointed Caribbean-influenced piece that reminds me a lot of Michael Torke in his 'Javelin' mode. The second, Nocturne, is quiet, slow, Debussyesque. The third, Your Touch, is for solo piano and sounds an awful lot like jazz pianist Denny Zeitlin's smoky classic 'Quiet Now.' This is a high recommendation; it's got a gorgeous tune and luscious harmonies. The fourth, Blues, sounds like updated jazzy Bernstein in its dislocated accents, stride bass, throwaway virtuosity. The fifth, Concert, is a hilarious knockoff of just about every classical concerto cliche and even quotes, almost note for note, a bridge passage from Beethoven's Emperor Concerto, before exploding into one of those hilarious never-ending classic tonic-dominant endings. I found myself laughing out loud.

"Deux sejours (Two journeys) are evocations of two small towns - one in France, one in Italy - and are intentionally modeled on the orchestrations by Debussy of Satie's 'Gymnopedies'. Quiet gardens, civility, serenity, lovely melodies.

"Dance Partita is an eight-movement (actually four movements and four ritornellos) orchestral suite, with piano obbligato, based on baroque models. Stravinsky in his neoclassic music - think Jeux de cartes or, better, Pulcinella - comes to mind. Also Bolcom's 'Orphee-Serenade' (anunder-recognized masterpiece) is evoked. Brilliantly done. One's toe taps until tripped up by the irregular time signatures. Delicious.

"Two Portraits of Barcelona. The first, 'Antoni Gaudi's Cathedral' is a six minute tone-poem that builds from a mysterious opening, evoking the religious grandeur of the Cathedral, to a wicked Rouse-ian description of Gaudi's wild architecture. The second, 'The Bullfight', starts with mock-heroic Spanish bullfight music, complete with trumpet duo flourishes, and builds to a frenetic danza, ending the CD with high spirits and this listener with a desire for more. Ole!

"Lest it sound like I think Pann has no 'sound' of his own, I want to emphasize that this man has the goods and is discovering a voice that I predict will be increasingly listened to."

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