American Record Guide New Lullaby CD Review

American Record Guide, January/February 2001, p. 227

New Lullaby

Composers: Job, Feist, Trester, Wheeler, Siegfried, Small, Stolz, Cooman, McDonald, Vayo, Leisner, Schwarts, Vigil
Aaron Larget-Caplan, guitar
Six String Sound 888-01 – 53 minutes

Mr. Larget-Caplan directs the New Lullaby Project from his home base in Boston.  Here he has collected 14 lullabies from 13 composers, most not well known (only David Leisner was familiar to me, and he as one of our finest guitarists who also composes).  All the pieces were composed between 2006 and 2009.  Each is well crafted, and each performance is well played and sensitive.  The notes include descriptions of each piece by its composer.

Larget-Caplan says in his introduction that the works are of two types, the first consoling and protective, but a second type that is quietly disturbing, as if on the edge of a sleep troubled with bad dreams.  They are presented in what might be described as ascending order of weirdness.  The early pieces are all fairly conventional, pretty, and soothing.  Others near the end have other qualities.  David Vayo’s ‘Berceuse’ is the longest piece, at seven minutes, and asks the performer to sing (or, in Larget-Caplan’s case, to moan) and whistle.  His notes don’t indicate that his intent was anything other than consoling, but the effect is rather creepy.

David Leisner’s ‘Disturbed, a Lullaby’ is indeed disturbing, with a non-tonal, pointillistic texture, as if he were attempting a quiet irony.  The final work, Ryan Vigil’s ‘Shhhh’, is done entirely in harmonics, with three strings tuned to alternate pitches.  The work is five minutes of nearly inaudible sounds that get even softer as the piece progresses.

It will come as no surprise that I don’t recommend that you hear this recording all in one sitting.  Every piece is quiet (don’t wake the baby!), and that can become monotonous.  Some pieces are charming, some disturbing.  –Keaton

Kenneth Keaton is a professor of music at a Florida university and has earned three degrees in classical guitar performance.

New Lullaby is available on Amazon, CDBaby and itunes

Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply