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Highly Reviewed Recordings

January 11 - January 24, 2012

HILLBORG, A.: 11 Gates / Dreaming River / King Tide / Exquisite Corpse (Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Salonen, Oramo, Gilbert)
(BIS: BIS-SACD-1406)

HILLBORG, A.: 11 Gates / Dreaming River / King Tide / Exquisite Corpse (Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Salonen, Oramo, Gilbert)

The present collection showcases Hillborg’s typically multifaceted and wickedly good-natured humour… Dreaming River (1998) is different…its starting point the shawm-like sound of the Chinese oboe, the suona (Hillborg deploys two).          The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra is on splendid form throughout, led by conductors who have championed these works at home and abroad. BIS’s SACD sound is typically spectacular, making this release very strongly recommended.

© 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

CURRIER, S.: Piano Music (Melton) - Piano Sonata / Departures and Arrivals / Scarlatti Cadences / Brainstorm
(Naxos: 8.559638)

CURRIER, S.: Piano Music (Melton) - Piano Sonata / Departures and Arrivals / Scarlatti Cadences / Brainstorm THE American composer Sebastian Currier was still a student at the Juilliard School when he wrote his Piano Sonata (1988), his only work in the genre. But the score already displays the hallmarks of his later pieces: exuberant energy, boisterous rhythms, emotional intensity and a broad coloristic palette. The violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter is among the prominent soloists who have championed Mr. Currier’s music recently.

The five-movement sonata is featured on a disc of his piano music, performed expressively and with dexterous flair by Laura Melton, who teaches at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

The structure, counterpoint and harmony of the sonata allude to Beethoven, Bach and Hindemith; the percussive drive shows the influence of Prokofiev. The mood of each section is aptly reflected by the titles. Jaunty rhythms are layered into a feisty canvas in “Bold and Defiant,” and slow, murky musings lend a desolate air to “Suppressed.” “Multifarious,” the densely textured finale and the longest movement, consists of a theme and variations complete with two fugues.

In the booklet notes Mr. Currier writes that even small compositional choices always leave him wondering how a score would have sounded had he made different musical decisions. In “Departures and Arrivals” (2007) he explores roads not taken, using the same materials to create six alternative versions of the same work. “A Tune,” “A Shift” and “A Dialogue” begin in a similar vein, then take different turns. In “A Transformation,” “A Dialogue” and “A Glimpse,” the process is more abstract.

In “Scarlatti Cadences” (1996), Mr. Currier views the Baroque composer Domenico Scarlatti through a contemporary prism, interspersing misty textures with sparkling, driven passages. The disc concludes on a fiery note with the witty, relentless “Brainstorm” (1994). 

Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times, December 22, 2011

Chamber Music - LOTT, R. / CLARK, A. / WORDEN, S. / SNIDER, S.K. / GREENSTEIN, J. / KAHANE, G. (Beautiful Mechanical) (yMusic)
(New Amsterdam: NWAM032)

Chamber Music - LOTT, R. / CLARK, A. / WORDEN, S. / SNIDER, S.K. / GREENSTEIN, J. / KAHANE, G. (Beautiful Mechanical) (yMusic) For musicians, it's always far better to be too busy than not busy enough, but the members of the New York-based new-music sextet yMusic seem to be working all the time. "We're all in a jazillion different projects," said violinist Rob Moose in a dressing room high above the Beacon Theater stage here. He described the members as being in "an open relationship"—meaning they're free to take on other jobs when they can get them.

It's nearly impossible for the musicians to synchronize their calendars. The launch party for yMusic's exhilarating 2011 debut album, "Beautiful Mechanical" (New Amsterdam), was delayed by more than two months so that all the members could attend. Last month, they had to hustle to make a gig at the Beacon in support of Shara Worden, better known as My Brightest Diamond. Mr. Moose and yMusic's trumpeter, C.J. Camerieri, flew in from Wisconsin, where they had been backing Bon Iver. Cellist Clarice Jensen and violist Nadia Sirota were in town and free for the moment, but reeds player Hideaki Aomori had to hurry over from Radio City Music Hall, where he's in the orchestra for the annual "Christmas Spectacular." Flutist Alex Sopp had to turn down the assignment: She was playing with members of the New York Philharmonic at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each member's datebook is pretty much filled for 2012.

Jim Fusilli, Wall Street Journal Online

BACH, J.S.: Trio Sonatas, BWV 525-530 (Quinney)
(Coro: COR16095)

BACH, J.S.: Trio Sonatas, BWV 525-530 (Quinney)

Quinney delivers finger- and foot-perfect performances.

…this makes for a very full disc but one which is highly satisfying. How fitting, too, that it is dedicated to the much-lamented David Sanger, an inspiring teacher to so many organists.

© 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

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