Alan Beeler composer
Aliana de la Guardia soprano; Karolina Rojahn piano
Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Jiří Petrdlík, Petr Vronský conductor
Orchestra and Choir of the Târgu Mureş State Philharmonic | Ovidiu Marinescu conductor
Brian Church baritone; Eric Christopher Perry tenor
The music of Alan Beeler (1939-2016) is frequently a compact, tightly focused one, presenting sharp contrasts of color and mood in the context of clear, direct compositional structures. Although noticeably influenced by artistic movements in Europe and America during the first half of the 20th century, Beeler’s musical voice is an identifiable one – crisp, bold, and pointedly quirky.
This voice is on full display in the THE VOCAL MUSIC OF ALAN BEELER, a new collection of recent works for ensembles both small and large.
THE SUTTON SONGS sets the poetry by Dorothy Sutton, Beeler’s former colleague at Eastern Kentucky University, performed by pianist Karolina Rojahn and soprano Aliana de la Guardia. Angular melodies and tart harmonies are effectively juxtaposed against gentle, lilting duets in this 7-movement work.
SYMPHONY NO. 3 is an orchestral and choral exploration of well-known Shaker hymns as experienced through Beeler’s own musical prism. Conducted by Ovidiu Marinescu and performed by the Filarmonica de Stat Târgu Mureş, the piece is an earnest, plaintive treatment of these cultural touchstones, given a reading filled with both force and grace by the orchestra and choir.
Two works which revel in the eccentric close out the album. The impish humor of Lewis Carroll has always been a favorite of Beeler’s, and the composer’s setting of the beloved JABBERWOCKY proves the match is a good one; a much more obscure piece of literature, INHUMAN HENRY by A.E. Houseman, forms the basis for the last work on the album. Scored for tenor and orchestra, the piece is a fable about the importance of accepting the unusual and unexpected – something to which Alan Beeler, composer and teacher, can most certainly attest.