Eric Moe’s year of significant accomplishments was punctuated by an inaugural lecture for his recent appointment as Mellon Professor of Music and the release of his latest all-Moe album, Of Color Braided All Desire: Music of Eric Moe.
Moe gave his Mellon Inaugural Lecture in Frick Fine Arts Auditorium on February 19th to an appreciative audience of faculty members, students, and guests from the community. Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson gave a brief introduction to Moe’s work, summarizing his many creative and scholarly achievements. Moe’s lecture exposited both the literary and psychoacoustical underpinnings of a broad variety of compositions from the newly written microtonal keyboard work The Weasel of Melancholy to the composer’s 1991 gloss on a Chopin piano etude, Grande Étude Brilliante. Percussionist Aaron Trant rounded out the program with a riveting performance of Gong Tormented (2007).
Moe’s new album from Albany Records, Of Color Braided All Desire, highlights his vocal writing, featuring soprano Christine Brandes and the Brentano String Quartet on settings of May Swenson’s poetry from which the album takes its title. Responsibility for tormenting the gong falls to Dominic Donato, while Talujon Percussion expertly renders the technically daunting Danger: Giant Frogs. Moe’s ability to write for strings in both highly expressive and percussive ways is on full display in And Life Like Froth Doth Throb (performed by violist Jessica Meyer and cellist Karen Ouzounian) and The Salt of Broken Tears (featuring the Manhattan String Quartet).
Of Color Braided All Desire, available for purchase from Amazon, encapsulates much if what has made Moe a natural choice for the Mellon Professorship.