Michael J. Baker In Paradisum

A retrospective of the compositions of the late Michael J. Baker that showcases his orchestral compositional works for assorted dance companies between 1980 and 1988. In Paradisum is broken down into four parts. The first two, "Skyling" and "Columbus," are single complete pieces, whereas the latter two, "Animated Shorts" and "In Paradisum," are split into multiple movements. The opening, "Skyling," is a radiant piece that has a Reich-ian repetition with dense instrumental patterns, but not as stoic as the music of Steve Reich. Rather, "Skyling" is looser and tends to the more mellifluous and emotional. "Columbus" is a fascinating piece that starts off as a slow and glum string piece but somewhere within the three-minute mark the composition takes off with piano accompaniment and wind instruments. The last two compositions sound a lot more convoluted and appropriate for a cartoon soundtrack, or as accompaniment to some human movement, requiring something extra to give these pieces context. The idea that these pieces were used for a dance company seems appropriate, yet the first two songs show that Baker was a composer that made music that stood up well, even decades after its release. (Artifact)