QUAESTIONES ET RESPONSA
In celebration of her 30th anniversary of coming to America, Boston based composer Alla Cohen presents a double album of new works for chamber orchestra and chamber ensembles. A graduate of highest honors of the famed Moscow Conservatory, Cohen emigrated to the United States in 1989, first teaching at the New England Conservatory of Music, and for the last 15 years— as a Professor at Berklee College of Music. Her works have been awarded multiple prizes, are raved about in stellar reviews, and have been performed by acclaimed musicians from around the world.
Corresponding with Cohen’s monumental milestone of three decades in the United States as a highly acclaimed composer and sought-after master composition teacher, QUAESTIONES ET RESPONSA is a monumental release. This double album set, compiling Cohen’s recent compositions, very likely will be met with the same acclaim as her previous releases. Cohen’s music is strikingly unique by its style, monumental in scale, yet delicately crafted in every detail. The music is moving and uplifting, emotionally and spiritually, and is visionary and highly imaginative. These are the works of a dedicated master composer whose work and teaching captures the spirit of 20th and 21st-century art music. Cohen’s music is thought through, with painstaking care, yet retains a sense of being unbridled; often, the seemingly more traditional titles (like Partita) completely belie expectations – Cohen expands formal presumptions considerably and takes listeners on a journey to new lands of originality, discovery, and artistic freedom.
Notably, Cohen prides herself on performing her own parts at the piano – and justly so, for who could understand and execute Cohen’s thoughts better than the thinker herself? Hence, all the piano parts on QUAESTIONES ET RESPONSA are played by Cohen, who shines in this respect with empathetic sensitivity and impeccable timing; a skill she undoubtedly passes on to and demands from her other performers.
QUAESTIONES ET RESPONSA is a double album perfectly suited to the distinguished, educated contemporary music fancier. Defying conjectures and conventions, it is nothing less than confident, resolute sophistication, just as Cohen herself. Her music will also appeal to all those who are interested in the directions of art music today.