James Noyes’ music is a joyful balance of tradition and progress. I attended his recital at Our Saviour’s Atonement, a gorgeous-yet-intimate local church seemingly hidden at the upper edge of Manhattan, equidistant from Broadway and a sudden, staggering cliff face. The room, with a colossal pipe organ as its centerpiece, was an appropriately sacred space for the music. Almost all of the pieces performed were specifically written for Noyes, and the chemistry between himself and the composers was palpable. When one hears a piece written by a great musician specifically for another great musician, the effect is almost numinous: one hears the composer creating a sound-world for the performer to exist in, and then the performer plays in reverence of the world they find created for them. Hopefully, the listener can usually hear why these musicians were drawn to each other. Which is certainly the case with Noyes and the composers whose music he plays.
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