Richard Carr: landscapes and lamentations
(Neuma Records / August 19, 2022)
“Music and nature have a long and illustrious history together.”
Composer, conductor, violinist, pianist and guitarist Richard Carr is also an avid hiker.
“It’s been done a zillion times, but I can’t fight it anymore. True, I spend more time than most knocking around the woods and winding up and down the trails. Over the course of six decades, I have explored the major mountain ranges of six continents. This has been long enough to witness first-hand the changes that have been so apparent not only to the naked eye but also through the empirical research of climate scientists.”
landscapes and lamentations continues his work using both semi-structured and fully structured pieces, all inspired by the environment within 15 miles of his home in New York's Hudson Valley.
Carr's work is performed on the recording by the American Contemporary Music Ensemble or ACME: Laura Lutzke (violin); Ben Russell (violin); Caleb Burhans (viola); and Clarice Jensen (cello). Car joins in at times, along with pre-recorded piano and guitar tracks.
The pieces are expressive and melodic, using patterns and sounds evocative of natural rhythms. Layers of texture and melody ebb and flow together in organic waves. On Loop Road, the mood is thoughtful and veers towards melancholy; Gertrude's Nose is propelled by rhythmic intensity.
In each piece, he finds musical inspiration, and a fresh sense of expression, for each new theme from atmospheric to literal - Underwater Photography, Ice Caves, Powerline.
It's a continuation of an eclectic career as a composer. , “I explored jazz, open improvisation, minimalism, just intonation, spectralism, dental equipment sampling, and anything else that might be a vehicle for self-expression,” Carr explains in the liner notes.