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"Chamber Works"

Cover Design: Gerald Warfield & Richard Brooks

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Catalog Number: CPS-8651
Audio Format: Stereo, DDD
Playing Time: 61:42
Release Date: 1998

Track Listing & Audio Samples
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  Brian Balet
  Four Proportional Preludes
  1. Reflection (6:07)
  2. Metallica (1:32)
  3. Modulated Cosine (1:50)
  4. Resonance (3:51)
  Janis Mercer, piano
  Andrew Rindfleisch
  5. Tears
  Jean DeMart, flute
  Kari Henrik Juusela
  6. Ilta Pala (2:39)
  Carlos Delgado
Fugaz (3:08)
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  René Mogensen, tenor saxophone
  David Epstein
  8. Piano Variations (12:07)
  Abbott Ruskin, piano
  Alexandre Rudajev
  Sonate pour piano et violon
  9. Lent et triste (5:43)
  10. Vif et puissant (4:29)
  11. Lent et calme (5:56)
  12. Animé et joyeux (5:04)
  Pavel Eret, violin
  Daniel Weisner, piano

All Recordings by the
Society of Composers, Inc.

Mélange CPS-8755
Mood Shifts CPS-8748
Soundscapes CPS-8741
Cornucopia CPS-8725
Sonic Images CPS-8712
Milestones CPS-8701
Inspirations CPS-8690
Cultivated Choruses CPS-8674
Inner Visions CPS-8670
Connections CPS-8660
Transcendencies CPS-8656
Chamber Works CPS-8651
Illuminations CPS-8643
Grand Designs CPS-8639
Intimate Thoughts CPS-8632
Evocations CPS-8631
Extended Resources CPS-8626
Songfest CPS-8618
Contra-Punctus CPS-8615
America Sings! CPS-8613
Potpourri CPS-8609
View from the Keyboard CPS-8606

Related Links
Society of Composers, Inc.

Carlos Delgado
Kari Henrik Juusela



Fanfare - November/December 1998 - by Robert Kirzinger

"This is the 11th CD release by the Society of Composers, Inc. The selections comprise a sort of juried "group-show," resulting in an eclectic album, but with consistently high compositional standards.

This isn't to say that I agree with the musical arguments of every piece. For example, I'm not so keen on the first piece on the program, Four Proportional Preludes by Brian Belet (b. 1955). The Four Preludes, for piano, are nominally pitch-centered, though not formally tonal. The shape of the group is an arch, with the first and fourth taking a slower, recitativelike approach. The second and third both take a fast, perpetual-motion role, with the second, Metallica, using pitches prepared with screws to produce a metallic sound. Put together, these four preludes don't really make a piece. One might say it's the nature of the prelude, but that doesn't have to be the case. The performance in the middle movements could stand a degree or two more abandon.

Another insubstantial piece is Ilta Pala(a) by Kari Henrik Juusela (b. 1954). At just over 2:30, it's the shortest piece on the program. A slow, free-tempo opening section lasts about a minute; the remainder is a fast-pulsed, irregularly metered rondo that builds from its recurring bass string motif to a dramatic ending of strummed chords. The well-played little piece would be effective on a recital of guitar music, but doesn't hold its own in this eclectic company.

by Carlos Delgado (b. 1961), fares somewhat better despite lasting only three minutes. The material ranges from fast chromatic passages to multiphonics sustained with an echo effect. The aggressive stance of the amplified saxophone keeps the energy level high throughout.

Andrew Rindfleisch (b. 1963) wrote Tears, for solo flute, as accompaniment for a solo dancer. He incorporates into this attractive, effective piece the sound of the exaggerated in-drawn breath of
the player and effects including slap- and flutter-tongue along with more straightforward playing. Jean DeMart displays skill and sensitivity throughout: Quiet, almost Japanese-sounding passages and emotionally edgy, frenetic gestures occur side-by side with often no transition. The whole is, however, cohesive, structured in two large, more or less equal parts, with a correspondence between playing style and melodic shape providing internal formal solidity.

More ostentatiously formal are the Piano Variations of David Epstein (b. 1930). The work is an early one in Epstein's career, dating from 1961. The variation procedure stems from a motif rather than a whole theme. The sections are initially short, generating a gamut of new moods from similar pitch material. As the piece progresses, so does the complexity of approach. The work is well constructed, but Epstein delves into some stylistic pastiche in the jazz-inflected ending, adding to the sense of the whole being somewhat derivative.

If Epstein's piece is derivative, the Sonate pour piano et violon (1992) is positively Ravelian. Alexandre Rudalev (b. 1937) studied with Boulanger, but her Neoclassic thumbprint would be ultramodern in this context. The piece, in four movements, derives its strengths from lyrical melody and motivic development. His tunes are pretty and the balance of the instruments sure. Rudajev lacks little in traditional compositional skill. Should the piece show up on a recital with Brahms and Prokofiev (you know, for shock value) the audience might walk away with Rudajev's music in their heads.

The performances (especially for Tears and Fugaz) and production on the whole are fine. My problem with the disc, if you haven't beaten me to it, lies in its very eclecticism. The inclusion of the little pieces of Juusela and Delgado and the exercises of Belet seems to belittle the CD as a whole. Each piece should be coupled with a more serious work of the same composer. The more substantial pieces here-those of Rudajev, Rindfleisch, and Epstein-don't have enough commonality to work well together. The disc, then, is consigned to being of interest to friends of the composers or performers involved."


American Record Guide – November/December 1998 - By Lehman

"This sampler offers a glimpse of what’s happening these days in the groves of academe. And if you don’t think there is such a thing as “academic” music, check out Brian Belet’s Four Proportional Preludes—not to speak of his professional pedigree (“research…presented at conferences internationally and…published in Perspectives of New Music” and elsewhere) and the composer’s jargon-heavy explanation of the processes that go into writing his stuff. We’re talking “linear and vertical structures…constructed from various orderings of the tempered intervals of perfect fifth and minor second”, “rate of change…controlled by internal sections”, even—get this—“algorithmic composition”. Well, as far as I’m concerned the only thing that “algorithms” have to do with music is when our Vice-President dances to them. But then I’m not a tenured professor.

At any rate, Belet’s preludes—partly for “prepared” piano—are spacey, rather Cageian tessellations that meander or twitter along punctuated by long pauses before drifting off into silence—harmless, even rather pleasant, though hardly memorable.

Andrew Rindfleisch’s Tears, for solo flute, is a little harder to forget: its piercing high notes made me wince. Hence its title, perhaps?

More monstrous—but this time intentionally—is Carlos Delgado’s Fugaz, an electronically-goosed saxophone solo that evokes Godzilla’s love-call (bringing to mind the New Yorker’s comment that this creature is like most of the males in Manhattan: he has bad table manners, takes the subway, and has sex with himself). I enjoyed Fugaz: it’s fresh, unpretentious, inventive, exuberant—and concise.

Our “Society of Composers” program concludes with a pair of more substantial and much more traditional works. David Epstein’s Piano Variations is strongly-built, flinty, and plangent, but never harsh, and expansive enough to have a certain indefinable “American” tang. Listeners draw (like me) to the mid-century piano sonatas of Roger Sessions (one of Epstein’s teachers), Leon Kirchner, and Elliott Carter will find much to admire and enjoy in this splendid composition. I’d like to see more by Epstein on CD soon; CRI should reissue the chamber music once on Desto vinyl.

Alexandre Rudajev’s 1992 Violin Sonata is Gallic, sensuous, and (though quite active) mostly serene in mood. Though I can’t say it abounds in melody or individual character, there’s nothing here that would have disturbed Tansman or Tailleferre or even Ravel.

Performances and recordings, from various venues, are all quite expert; sonics on Fugaz are exceptional—that souped-up sax sounds like it’s in the room with you."