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Reflections - Music By American Composers / North/South Consonance Ensemble


Release Date: 02/19/2008 
Label:  North/South Recordings   Catalog #: 1046   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Christopher JamesEmma Lou DiemerJudith ShatinRandall Snyder
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North/South ConsonanceMax Lifchitz
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 0 Hours 53 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



REFLECTIONS Max Lifschitz, cond; The North/South Consonance Ens NORTH/SOUTH 1046 (53: 21)


JAMES Sinfonia concertante. DIEMER A Requiem. SHATIN Spin. SNYDER Chamber Symphony


The Sinfonia concertante was written Read more to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the present ensemble. It was premiered in 2005. The composer, Christopher James, describes the langauge as “a generalized principal [ sic ] of intervallic relations, which takes the form of a modal systen with serial applications.” This is very approachable-sounding music. The composer’s detailed notes give some technical details as to how he achieves a harmonically and melodically consistent language. The actual sound we hear is not overtly harsh in its dissonances. The first movement (of three) is rather jolly, contrasting with the elegiac, ternary structure of the second, an Adagio sostenuto that includes many expressive passages for oboe (Gary Hamme). The finale is a set of variations, the first of which pays tribute to Milton Babbitt. The piece finally resolves onto a D-Major chord after some appealingly pointed playing in the final variation.


The 2004 work by Emma Lou Diemer (b. 1927), A Requiem , is scored for 10 winds and string quintet. There is much timbral exploration here, and the work climaxes with a furious 10-part canon. It is intended as a requiem for the composer’s sister. There is a deliberate invocation of a sense of space that seems in direct contrast to the workings of the James.


From a very simple initial concept, Judith Shatin carves a brief but very effective little piece, Spin . Scored for a sextet comprising flute, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, and cello, Shatin explores multiple types of spin as applied to music, from chords that unfold and collapse back onto themselves through to dance rhythms that spin between groups of instruments. Each of the work’s two sections ends with a section that “spins like a top.” The players here seem to enjoy the lighthearted gaity of it all.


Randall Snyder (b. 1944) takes on the weight of Schoenberg in writing a Chamber Symphony (2005, revised 2006). Indeed, he pays overt homage, scoring it for a small ensemble of strings and winds and even (I believe) using material that at times invokes Schoenberg’s op. 9. Snyder writes in four movements, including an angular Scherzo phantasmagoria as the third. The second, marked Plangent, is perhaps less of a slow movement than its position and tempo indication might imply. Snyder’s Traveling West was previously reviewed by me positively in Fanfare 30:3.


All performances are lovingly sculpted and delivered with the utmost dedication. The recording is well balanced, with a nice sense of focus and depth.


FANFARE: Colin Clarke
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Sinfonia Concertante: Adagio affetuoso-Piu animato-Tempo primo by Christopher James
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North/South Consonance,  Max Lifchitz
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 47 Secs. 
2.
Sinfonia Concertante: Variations by Christopher James
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North/South Consonance
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 9 Minutes 56 Secs. 
3.
A Requiem by Emma Lou Diemer
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North/South Consonance
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 11 Minutes 47 Secs. 
4.
Spin by Judith Shatin
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North/South Consonance
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 50 Secs. 
5.
Chamber Symphony: Incisive by Randall Snyder
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North/South Consonance
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 6 Minutes 7 Secs. 
6.
Chamber Symphony: Plangent by Randall Snyder
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North/South Consonance
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 18 Secs. 
7.
Chamber Symphony: Scherzo Phantasmagoria by Randall Snyder
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North/South Consonance
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 4 Secs. 
8.
Chamber Symphony: Antic by Randall Snyder
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North/South Consonance
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
9.
Sinfonia Concertante: Pesante - Allegro con fuoco by Christopher James
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North/South Consonance
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 11 Secs. 

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