American Record Guide

Time, Still – Review

By Mark Lehman

(on Time, Still) Performances are polished to an immaculate, glowing sheen, sonics transparent and sumptuous. (Saxophonist Doug Masek gets an especially gorgeous sound out of his instrument.) The music itself is buoyant, cheerful, active, melodious, and welcoming . . .
“Metaphor Two” is a three-minute bagatelle for piano, its ringing, light-filled harmonies evoking wistful (cinematic?) reverie.

Best, and most substantial, is Babcock’s three-movement, 18-minute cello sonata (subtitled Imagined/Remembered). The first movement pits long, singing cello lines against happily scampering piano figures, later reversing roles as the cello scampers and the piano sings. The second is a slow, measured elegy and shows Babcock at his darkest and most searching, the cello’s troubled ruminations punctuated by the piano’s slowly treading low notes and arch-like arpeggios. The finale is a vivacious moto perpetuo with dancing syncopations that recall early Leonard Bernstein. The music bubbles over with joie de vivre, something that we can never have too much of.