CD Review: Montage Music Society Starry Night Project

Review by Oleg Ledeniov

The work that ends the disc – or, I better say, crowns it – is Andrew List’s Noa Noa: A Gauguin Tableau for violin, clarinet and piano. The three eternal questions of Gauguin’s picture – Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? – are interpreted by the composer “as representing three facets of human consciousness”. I hope the Mahlerites won’t kill me if I describe the parts as “What the body tells me” (aggressive, determined, forceful – our Past), “What the mind tells me” (ever-changing, fluent, searching – our Present), and “What the soul tells me” (spiritual, peaceful, and blissfully beautiful – hopefully, our Future). This last movement is sublime. It also serves as an answer to the unsettling questions of the first track, the Starry Night by Gauguin’s friend van Gogh. If you know these moments when the music ends and you stay in silent awe and then exhale “Aaah!..” – this is one of them.