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William Ashley Cooper
STUART DIAMOND has composed two great works that combine the elements of live performer(s) with the midi-driven, synthesizer derived electronic orchestration.


by William Ashley Cooper
     STUART DIAMOND has composed two great works that combine the elements of live performer(s) with the midi-driven, synthesizer derived electronic orchestration. On this CD are a violin concerto and an electronic tone poem that utilize the virtuoso skills of two very talented women. KAREN BENTLEY is the brilliant violinist who projects powerful dynamic solo work in the Concerto for Violin and Electronic Orchestra. She also performs the violin part in a duo with soprano KERRY WALSH in the second work that is a tone poem for the soloists with electronic orchestration. Both performers as well as Mr. Diamond's work as Composer/Synthesist bring these compositions to life with all the integrity of seasoned artists and leave the listener wanting to hear more of this type of composition/performance. 

  This CD has the appeal to satisfy both Classical music listeners as well as those who enjoy the technical electronic structure that is interplayed here. KONZERTO is a four movement violin concerto that captures the style of the great 19th Century violin concertos in a neo-romantic casting that will keep the listener attuned to the work from beginning to end. In the four movements: Allegro, Moderato, Largo and Vivace, Mr. Diamond has given Karen a virtual sonic playground of great expressive themes and variations in the 1st movement to show off her multitude of fireworks on the violin. She gets to soar in lilting lines of flight in the 2nd movement. The 3rd movement lets her form a caste of contemplative sadness that touches on a memoriam of something very close and lost; a lamentation of the heart. In the final 4th movement she puts forth a powerful grouping of statements over a constant driving ostinato that has several slow interludes intervening until the last powerful full symphonic interplay has her conclude the work over the powerful ostinato. A short coda on a descending minor chord brings this work to its respectful closure. Both soloist and composer/synthesist are in top notch form for this alluring work. 

  SUCCUBUS is a tone poem that takes the mythological theory of a demonic creature that takes the form of a woman and portrays its fated drive to seek out the wanton sex crazed lusts of men while sleeping to deplete them of that energy as a need for its supernatural survival. Its counterpart would be an Incubus that takes the form of a man seeking that same substance in women. 

  This six movement work is given a truly three dimensional interpretation with the duo work of KAREN BENTLEY on violin, who sets the tone for giving the demon its driving force, Soprano KERRY WALSH as the ethereal seductive soul of the demonic being, and STUART DIAMOND's pristine electronic sonic scenery in which the drama is enacted. As Karen's violin shapes the succubus and gives it movement on the various stages of its quest for human lust Kerry's voice really brings the tormented soul into full form and gives the listener the real feel of the feminine powers of seduction which the demon carries out on the unsuspecting victims who dare dream of wanton abandon. 

  The first movement shapes the creature out of the mists in its lair and gives it the sensuous womanly seductress that will search in the night for its victims. "Nightwings" has the demon airborne like an insect looking for the sweetest nectar. Karen's violin theme here in 3/4 time darts around to lush major 7th petals of shifting harmony with occasional resting points. In the third movement "The Kiss" Kerry's voice is so convincing as the fairy princess of your dreams coming to fulfill your wildest passions you can almost feel that she's breathing in your ears. When it's all over you have been left drained as the hapless victim. Now the violin part in the 4th movement takes on a whole different tone and the theme that was first heard in wisps of nightwings is now a hard driven 4/4 flight that is like the image of a bird of prey who carries off its victim in clutched talons. "Dreamlines" is the most amazing part of the work where the duo of violin and voice, with some very spaced reverberation, let you see the final image of the succubus as it now partakes    of the captured feast to transform its being back into its supernatural hibernation. The final 6th movement slowly brings back the mists of the opening and a few themes played by the violin conclude the work. 

  Both works are great to listen to and I found that Succubus really got into my skin. When listening to it the 2nd time I was doing so at 3AM in bed with headsets and felt I was totally pulled into the drama; and guess what? Now that I recall all of this I find that my sense of passion has been heightened; Succubus, come get me (again... and again... and again... and...)!