allmusic.com - by Blair Sanderson
The last quarter of the twentieth century brought dramatic changes in musical discourse, most important among them the reappraisal of tonality as a necessary complement to atonality, and the adoption of older conventions that the avant-garde had rejected. Curt Cacioppo's Klavierstück (1975-1976) is clearly a product of the pointillism and gestural language of that time, but his Sonata trasfigurata (1986, revised 1994) is striking for its return to the rich chromatic language Berg would have recognized. Ingrid Arauco's Triptych (1987) hovers between tonality and a more ambiguous, Impressionistic chromaticism, and occasionally plays off Romantic piano styles, in honor of the work's recipient, George Rochberg. Flowing arpeggios, motivic sequences, and modified triads mark Marino Baratello's Klavierstück (1991) as both a rapprochement with the new tonality and a remembrance of Scriabin's textures and harmonies. The most noticeable differences of style and language may be heard in Joseph Hudson's rhapsodic but harmonically ambiguous Fantasy-Refrain II (1991), and his transparently tonal Piece for the Swans (2000), a contrast that makes the point of Millennium Crossings absolutely clear. Pianists Curt Cacioppo and Lisa Weiss are polished in their execution, consistently expressive in interpretation, and show a deep understanding and appreciation of these transitional works. Capstone's sound quality is fine.
The Quindecim Online
Department Chair Makes Beautiful Music
By Eliot Grasso
Published: Wednesday, May 5, 2004
"To say the least, Millennium Crossings is a musical collaboration ofsome of the most sought-after and copiously decorated composers andpianists of the 21st century.
The artisans include composer Curt Cacioppo, Goucher Music DepartmentChair and pianist Dr. Lisa Weiss, Goucher graduate and composerIngrid Arauco, Venetian composer Marino Baratello, and Cleveland-borncomposer Dr. Joe Hudson.
The first two pieces on this compilation performed by Dr. Weiss areKlavierstück and Sonata trasfigurata, both compositions of Cacioppo.
Klavierstück is a seemingly boundless fantasy of colors, tones,rhythms and emotions, with technical demands that would make LeonFleisher blush. Dr. Weiss delivers no less than a high velocityperformance of uncompromising clarity and scintillating virtuosity.
Sonata trasfigurata is an expansive contrapuntal work of space anddepth. Dr. Weiss's uncanny gift for grand-scale unity of cohesiveexpression amply conveys the cerebral yet emotional nature of thisopus to the listener. Ephemeral harmonies and sheer dynamicsfrequently leave the listener in Prokofievian reverie.
The following piece, Triptych, was composed by Goucher graduateIngrid Arauco, a former pupil of Robert Hall Lewis. The texture ofthis piece is sparse and concise with savory tonal pocketsthroughout. As the third movement title suggests, Cacioppo executesthese three miniatures with wit and verve.
The third performance rendered by Dr. Weiss is yet another Klavierstück, this time by Marino Baratello. Dr. Weiss conveys themystery and melancholy of this work, effectively leaving the listenershrouded in paralysis as the final chord vanishes into oblivion.
The last two works on this recording are Hudson's Fantasy-Refrain IIand Piece for Swans. Cacioppo revels in the lethargic progression ofthese pieces while never boring the listener with inactivity.
The music of Millennium Crossings is emotionally eclectic, yet eachperformance is coherent, articulate, and masterfully conveyed."
New Music Box
The Web Magazine from the American Music Center
Whenever the opportunity arises, which it doesn't very often, I gleefully profess my love of what I puckishly term cheesy '70s serial music. For my own ironic reasons, I just can't get enough of the stuff. Really, the word cheesy doesn't have to carry a negative connotation. For me it certainly doesn't. I not only embrace my own inner cheese, I try to foster it. Along with wine and great European chocolate, cheese is one of life's greatest vices. So, suffice to say, I was literally floored by the utter refinement of Curt Cacioppo's succulent Klavierstück. Even the title hints, not so subtly, at the giants of serialism past. Of course I understand bestowing a piece with such a title, if you're actually German, but Cacioppo was born in Ohio when Stockhausen was arguably at his compositional peak, and now teaches in Pennsylvania. Whatever. I think his students are lucky to be in the presence of someone able to inject so much ethos and passion into the number crunching restraints of 12-tone composition. The music skids and smears its way through mushy lushness on its merry way to angular peaks. Luckily, the composer spends ample quality time in the murky valley I like to call anticlimactic. It gives the piece humility, not to mention listenability. Best part, composition on the piece was completed in 1976.