R LOMON Shadowing
Ruth Lomon (b1930) is Canadian-born and, after studying at the Conservatoire de Québec and McGill University, continued at the New England Conservatory and in Europe with Lutosawski and Dutilleux. She is best known for her Holocaust-inspired Songs of Remembrance and oratorio Testimony of Witnesses, as well as her orchestration of Rebecca Clarke’s Viola Sonata (A/16).
For more than 60 years Lomon has lived in New Mexico, fascinated by the rituals of the local Native American tribes, an interest that has made its way into a number of her works. Five Ceremonial Masks (1980), the earliest item here, is one such, each of its five movements taking one of the buckskin masks used in the Night Chant of the Yeibichai people (the composer’s photograph of these is in the booklet). The result is an Impressionistic suite, evoking Native American shamanism and mysticism with real charm in Eileen Hutchins’s polished performance. Compare that, though, with the visceral impact of the composer’s live account from 1984, included as a bonus.
The programme opens with Sunflower Variations (2009), written for Eileen Hutchins, who premiered it in 2010. It opens disarmingly simply but moves inexorably into different, rather Ivesian territory. There is a distinct feeling of New England transcendentalism – not surprising as Lomon has, since 1998, been Composer-in-Residence at the Women’s Research Center of Brandeis University, Boston. There is something of this atmosphere, too, in the three Esquisses (1992), and a more robust New Mexican character in the piano quartet Shadowing (1995). Excellent performances and fine sound.