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Solaris - American Quintets

Photo: Keith D. Kneisley

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Catalog Number: CPS-8677
Audio Format: Digital Stereo
Playing Time: 51:02
Release Date: 2000

Track Listing & Audio Samples
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  George Gershwin
  Three Preludes, transcribed by William Hoyt
  1. Allegro ben ritmado e deciso (1:30)
2. Andante con moto e poco rubato (3:38)
  3. Allegro ben ritmato e deciso (1:15)
  Samuel Barber
  4. Summer Music, op. 31 (12:00)
  Leonard Bernstein
  Four Anniversaries, transcribed by George Pope
  5. For Felicia Montealegre (2:03)
  6. For Johnny Megegan (0:42)
  7. For David Diamond (1:49)
  8. For Helen Coates (1:13)
  Leonard Bernstein
  Five Anniversaries, transcribed by George Pope
  9. For Elizabeth Rudolf (1:14)
  10. For Lukas Foss (1:48)
  11. For Elizabeth B. Ehrman (0:42)
  12. For Sandy Gellhorn (1:41)
  13. For Susanna Kyle (1:35)
  Henry Cowell
  Suite for Woodwind Quintet
  14. Allegretto (1:05)
  15. Allegro (1:03)
  16. Adagio cantabile (1:48)
  17. Allegro con moto (0:58)
  Jack Gallagher
  Ancient Evenings & Distant Music
  18. Prologue (0:57)
  19. Forlane (0:54)
  20. March (0:35)
  21. Siciliano (1:48)
  22. Burlesca (0:52)
  23. Scherzo (0:27)
  24. Danza (1:02)
  25. Arioso (1:38)
  26. Toccata (2:00)
  Roger Zahab
  27. your offending kiss (4:32)
  Nikola Resanovic
  28. The Golden Canon (7:45)



American Record Guide - January/February 2001 - by Kilpatrick

"Solaris, in residence at the University of Akron, offers a nicely varied program of woodwind quintets new, standard, and transcribed. In this vibrant account of Samuel Barber's wonderful and often-recorded Summer Music, each event in the patchwork quilt of events is given thoughtful expression. It is a study in sonic sensuousness, each instrument exploring timbral variety, lines passing from instrument to instrument with only subtle changes of tone quality.

While Henry Cowell is a major name in modern American music, his Suite (1930) is not well known. A little Allegretto is a fleet study in major-minor interplay, the final chord juxtaposing both. An Allegro has syncopated figures over lyrical fragments and a sustained bassoon line. The almost two-minute Adagio Cantabile (longest of the four movements) explores polytonality, and the final Allegro Con Moto is a quirky bit of perpetual motion.

Two Solaris members contribute some fine arrangements, including flutist George Pope's settings of nine Anniversaries, originally piano portraits by Leonard Bernstein. In the first of two sets, 'For Felicia Montealegre' is gentle, poignant, and quite touching. 'For Johnny Mehegan' is buoyant, humorous, and about a half-minute long. 'For David Diamond' sounds like memories both wistful and intense, and 'For Helen Coates' gives me the impression that she and Bernstein had some jolly good times. The second set of five is just as varied and interesting. These are fine transcriptions of little-known works, and woodwind aficionados should seek them out.

In horn player William Hoyt's arrangement of Gershwin's Preludes, the sunny I gives spritely melodies to each player in turn. In II, the soulful tune is played by oboist James Ryon, the gently swinging one by bassoonist Lynette Diers Cohen. In III, the noodly melody is played by clarinetist Håken Rosengren and flutist George Pope.

Then there are three recent, original works. The title of Your Offending Kiss, by Roger Zahab (faculty member at both Akron and the University of Pittsburgh), makes you expect to hear something that justifies the title. Listening uncovers a few passages that seem indignant, but nothing more, so you go to the notes for an explanation. They're no help—it's a mystery! Another evocative title, Ancient Evenings & Distant Music (1971), also conjures images that aren't borne out by the music. It is a very nice set of variations on a theme by Jack Gallagher, professor of music at The College of Wooster (OH). Last on the disc is Nicola Resanovic's Golden Canon, a fascinating and beautiful work that develops great complexity while maintaining a basic tonality and theme.

It is a pleasure to listen to Solaris, whose members have wonderful tone quality, virtuoso technique, and excellent ensemble skills. Recorded sound is crisp and direct for everyone but horn player Hoyt, who sounds a bit more distant."