MantraRobert Moran


Innova Recordings

Da enstünde ein Engel, Chrismos Vocal Ensemble, Alexander Hermann, dir.
Cortege, Grassauer Blí¤serensemble
Elegy for a Young King, Robert Ridgell, organ of Trinity, Wall Street
Mantra, Latvian Radio Chorus
Obrigado, Stirling: I’ts Raining Cats and Dogs, and Kboco, Iowa Percussion, Dan Moore, dir.
Processional, Robert Ridgell, organ of Trinity, Wall Street

Robert Moran’s music lives in two different worlds. The first world, that which occupies the first half of this disc, is the world of serene, graceful, and timeless music. The first three works waft through the ether with lush tonal harmonies. The halls used for the recordings are extremely resonant and this greatly enhances the spacious nature of Moran’s chords and gestures.

The title work on the disc turns the spirit of the music towards rhythmic energy. Mantra sounds a bit like a live version of a Paul Lansky Chatter piece with a slower harmonic rhythm. Where the first few pieces on the CD were about timelessness, these last works permeate joy, something I’m afraid to say I haven’t heard in a while. The three percussion ensemble pieces exude happy and peaceful energies. Of particular note is the work Sterling: It’s Raining Cats and Dogs. This piece, for a gargantuan setup of percussion, does for the rain what Messiaen did for bird calls.

Categorically, all the performers are excellent. Each ensemble and performer hits all the right notes, musically and emotionally, on this recording. Iowa Percussion does an absolutely phenomenal job with their three pieces. I hope we hear more from this ensemble in the future.

It is also important to note that the CD is dedicated to the flood recovery efforts that damaged so much of Central Iowa this summer, including the music building at the University of Iowa which is the home for Iowa Percussion. As a native Iowan, and one with many family members in that region, I do hope that the recovery in Iowa City (and all other effected communities) is swift. The great performance of Sterling: It’s Raining Cats and Dogs. might be seen as prophetic. I hope Iowa Percussion keeps it in their repertoire, though.

One Response to “Robert Moran: Mantra”
  1. James Benson says:

    MANTRA is an amazing cd. Mr. Ridgell’s performances of both ELEGY and the PROCESSION are dazzling and beautifully thought out.

    “da entstunde ein Engel” captures the amazing text of Meister Eckhart and is one of my favorites. On Moran’s first INNOVA CD, one must hear “STIMMEN des letzten Siegels” for chorus, 4 celli, organ, harp and percussion, which has the same quality as ENGEL. Both above mentioned works have that timeless quality.

    “Stirling: It’s raining cats and dogs” is like a musical landscape inwhich one wanders through the rain, hearing the most amazing sounds. I turn out the lights, ‘kick back’ and wander through these wonderous percussion sounds of the superb Iowa Percussion at Iowa State.

    The entire cd is so splendid. I listen to this one again and again.

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