New Classics

Carson Cooman is a prolific American composer born in 1982 with a catalogue of works in many forms, ranging from solo instrumental pieces to operas, and from orchestral works to hymn tunes. His music has been performed on all six inhabited continents and has appeared on over 25 recordings. As a concert organist, he specialises exclusively in the performance of new music and over 130 new works have been written for him by composers from around the world. He is also a writer on musical subjects, producing articles and reviews, and serves as an active consultant on music business matters to composers and performing organizations.

Cooman’s organ compositions come in many styles, from liturgical models, to more gritty and substantial pieces such as his organ symphonies and preludes and fugues. Volume 6 in Divine Art’s series of his music features recordings of Erik Simmons playing the 1882 Cavaillé-Coll Organ of the Abbey of Saint-Etienne in Caen, France. Simmons plays with fine technique and assurance and the live recording quality is outstanding. The compositions (all written in 2017) are the stirring Three St. Francis Legends, Piccola fantasia francescana, The Cloak with the Stars (a shimmeringly beautiful piece), Entrata festiva, the exciting Diptych for New Life, Gebet, Sketch No. 3, the beautiful Ciaccona angelica, Variations on a Theme of Andreas Willscher, and the evocative San Andreas Suite. Much of this music, tonal and accessible though never lacking in complex chromaticism, was written for and dedicated to the German composer Andreas Willscher whose works Cooman is also recording for Divine Art.

—John Pitt