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SOUNDS OF AMERICA

L E O N A R D O M A S C A R O

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P H O T O G R A P H Y

Jessica Meyer’s music – imaginatively conceived for its range of instruments and voices – makes a lasting impression

This would grace any recital, as would the triptych Transfiguration, a clarinet sonata in all but name, which recycles material from other Reale works – a recurrent feature of his output.

Reale is not averse to basing his pieces on other music, too, for example the tune ‘Aura lea’ in the Oboe Sonata or the ‘Dies irae’, well submerged in that for bassoon. All the works were composed or, like the Flute Sonata and Eleven Miniatures for wind quintet, revised in the latter half of 2017. While each is independent, they could be programmed as a cycle ideally opening with the brief, declamatory Horn Call and rounding off with the quintet. (Here, however, the works are played treble to bass, starting with the Flute Sonata, then those for oboe and clarinet, Horn Call then the Bassoon Sonata, with the Miniatures as coda.) The performances are all exemplary, with Christopher Guzman a near-perfect accompanist to the soloists. Excellent sound, too. Guy Rickards

‘Playing on the Edge’ Castellano Images by Paul Klee Erickson öðlo B Field String Quartet No 1 M Richter String Quartet No 3 Tamaki sneak into the Q City Sirius Quartet Navona F NV6249 (52’ • DDD)

On the evidence of their playing on this fascinating disc from Navona, the Sirius

Quartet are a fine, adaptable ensemble, and contemporary music specialists (judging from their back catalogue on Navona, CRI, Jazz and other labels). Curiously perhaps, the pick of the bunch are the two works with the most conventional titles. Marga Richter may be familiar to collectors for her marvellous tone poem Blackberry Vines & Winter Fruit (New World Records – nla). Her music has featured on other discs from Albany and Ravello but the Third Quartet is a fine example of her work, its three movements encapsulating depictions of utter stasis, emotional upheaval and a delightful dance-fantasy finale encompassing a waltz, tango, march and part of a fandango by Soler; and all in under 16 minutes.

Brian Field was a name new to me, but listening to his brief (14-minute) First Quartet (2003, rev 2010) makes me want to hear more. Its four very rhythmic movements are models of concision, real dialogues between the four musicians. I warmed less to Ian Erickson’s ö lo, described as ‘an instalment in a fivemovement work’, from which performers can pick and choose what they play. Jennifer Castellano’s Images by Paul Klee (2007-08) enters a competitive field, not least with Giselher Klebe’s orchestral rival to the opening ‘Twittering Machine’, but this student, 12-note piece approaches the paintings (the other two are ‘Dream City’ and ‘Fugue in Red’) from fresh angles, though arguably is too short to make its presence properly felt. Mari Tamaki’s sneak into the Q City is also based on a painting, of the same name by Iori Mamiya. Tamaki mirrors the artist’s concept of a ‘mind trip’ with a journey from initial dissonance to a closing, almost saccharine, harmony. Fine performances, fine sound all round. Guy Rickards

‘Preach Sister, Preach’ Bodor Absent an Adjustmenta Mack Preach Sister, Preachb E Williams Emily’s Houseb Katherine Jolly sop aEmily Yap Chua pf b Samantha Johnson-Helms cl bChrista Cole vn b Rachel Mossburg va bPer Björkling db b Joshua Harper cond Navona F NV6244 (41’ • DDD)

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