Notes and Editorial Reviews
It’s not every composer who has either the interest or resources to revisit previous musical inspirations but Allen Bonde, blessed as he is with a pianist wife and a soprano daughter, apparently has everything he needs close by. A particular highlight of this musical family gather are two competing settings of the same texts, entitled Three Elizabethan Songs (1965) and Three Elizabethan Songs Revisited (1991), where the elegant simplicity of Bonde’s initial conception—written for a student, the composer reveals in his notes—gives way to a more theoretically developed virtuosity, resulting in equally compelling works. Little of that verve, however, is noticeable in Bonde’s Fantasia (1961), a pseudo-concerto for piano and orchestra from early
in the composer’s career that opens the recording with largely unfulfilled promise.
More rewarding on the orchestra front, both structurally and emotionally, in his two-movement Symphony No.1 (1968), which articulates its loosly designed 12-tone schematic with impressive timbral variety.
On a purely musical level, Bonde’s piano music falls somewhere between his songs and symphonic works. Whether solo, as in Sonus I (1972), or duoi, as in Rose Window (2001)—performed with his wife Maria Kushmerick and written for the unveiling of the rose window in the chapel of Mount Holyoke College, where the composer is professor emeritus—Bonde has a way of harnessing a wide range of modernist influences into a structure that can still often sound spontaneously random. Ultimately, though, that range becomes rather a fault. After picking out Bartok, Berg, Stravinsky and Webern, one is still left looking for more Bonde himself.
Works on This Recording
Sonus I by Allen Bonde
Allen Bonde (Piano)
You Were the One by Allen Bonde
Mara Bonde (Soprano),
Allen Bonde (Piano)
Rose Window by Allen Bonde
Allen Bonde (Piano),
Maria Bonde (Piano)
Symphony no 1 by Allen Bonde
Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra
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