Monday, December 13, 2010

Mark Applebaum's "Sock Monkey" Goes Everywhere in Interesting Ways

From the very first listen to Mark Applebaum's CD Sock Monkey (Innova 706) it is clear that there is a stylistic restlessness somewhere lurking in the depths of the composer's being, and he makes very creative and credible use of it to cover a great deal of ground. There are some intriguing chamber ensemble and orchestral pieces in the modern classical mode, pieces for solo instruments, electro-acoustic ensembles, a solo for 18 prepared pianos (apparently one at a time in succession) based on a Mozart theme, there's a piece for several soloists plus live electronics, and on from there.

However it's not only that he isn't afraid to construct music for very varied resources, it's his success at doing so. There is an Applebaum sensibility, an original voice in operation throughout. So it's beyond eclectic and more in the realm of sonically extended original music. And it is indeed a hoot.

Applebaum manages humor, pathos, revelry, expressionism and parody all in various combinations in these works. Listening is a thorough pleasure. His is an avant garde that wears its approach lightly, yet quite seriously. It is a knockout disk.

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