Derek Baron is a composer, musician, and artist. Curtain is a diary. Both in musical and non-musical situations, they attribute a filmic quality to their journal-like aural self-documentation. Dreams turn real then dissolve. Single phrases and events arrive and leave, abruptly. Yet, the overall sense of place that Baron creates is understood.
Opening Curtain is the eponymous piece. A 21-minute live chamber work for quintet recorded in 2018. A musical assemblage of glued-together fragments and scraps of sheet music from Baron’s past. Compositions wrote in the small margins and folds of paper; illustrated in the art booklet included with the LP. The flute, violin, guitar, keyboard, and bass clarinet phrases saunter at a pre-sleep pace, until a subdued, yet ecstatic Mass theme ushers in periodically. Delivering the warmth of life… it is a slow beauty. It brings me such happiness listening to this piece. Its continuity is cut with scissors and pasted about oddly… all soaked in a certain malaise; a resigned grace.
The next piece and other side of the LP, “Chancel,” is rather different. An audio journal flipped through, dropped on the ground, picked up and opened to another page. A confusing montage of world-ized musical snatches: car radios, church choirs emanating to the streets, moldy organs, domestic piano recordings. Similarly, machine vibrations, bodega conversations, and other environmental observations segue the harmony and disharmony of this listening experience. I’ll finish with some of Derek’s notes from the booklet: “Co-opting new achievements / Thank you for this incredible demonstration / This theatre of procedures / This consoling play of recognitions / No theatre but “what’s that”, / Nowhere for the silver ball to roll to. / How are we so in love.”