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Take Wing - Persichetti, Etc / Lois Bliss Herbine, Et Al


Release Date: 08/30/2005 
Label:  Crystal   Catalog #: 713   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Daniel DorffAllen KrantzWillard ElliotDavid Loeb,   ... 
Performer:  Lois Bliss HerbineCharles AbramovicAllen KrantzSophie Bruno,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Lois Bliss Herbine is a Philadelphia-based flutist whose credits include Orchestra 2001, the Philly Pops, and the Mann Festival Orchestra. This seems to be the first disc devoted to her, although she has appeared on several other recordings of new music. Of the seven composers here, all Americans, four were born in the 1950s. The exceptions are Persichetti (1915–87), Willard Elliot (1926–2000), and David Loeb (b. 1939). In addition to the inevitable piccoloness of every piece, there is a consistent neo-Classic bent to the collection. None of the pieces is more than 10 minutes long; the label tells us that these are all first recordings.

Daniel Dorff (b. 1956) studied with Rochberg, Crumb, and Husa, and his works have been
Read more performed by a number of major orchestras, including those in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Detroit, among others. His small, three-movement Sonatine de Giverny is, as expected, a quasi-programmatic meditation on Monet’s gardens. Cast in a fast-slow-fast structure, its language is in the tradition of Ibert or Poulenc, with an attendant shadow of cliché, particularly in the finale. Willard Elliot’s Fantasy for piccolo and piano, although not that different in style, is both more substantial and more sophisticated. Elliot, a graduate of Eastman, was the principal bassoonist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for more than 30 years. This piece dates from 1952.

The High and the Mighty (2000) by the pop-culture vulture (no pejorative intended) Michael Daugherty is the other piccolo-and-piano work on the disc. Inspired by air travel, this lightweight but cleverly wrought piece is cast in two movements totaling about eight minutes. The first movement is lyrical with asymmetrical phrase-lengths aiding propulsion. The thematically related but brighter second movement contains a “high-altitude bossa nova.” Coincidentally, in Night Flight for piccolo, clarinet, and piano, Howard Buss (b. 1951) wrote a single-movement “musical depiction of an eventful flight of a jetliner.” The audible sections of the work reflect the plane’s taxiing, takeoff, uneventful cruising, and so forth. It’s hard to put aside this ridiculous programmatic content to attend to whatever inherent musical values the piece has. The work has nothing in the way of sound effects (which detail is neither here nor there), outlining changes in mood through melodic and contrapuntal means. Although consistently too busy (everyone plays, all the time) and not particularly original, Night Flight has a nice feel for flow and contrast.

Vincent Persichetti, probably the best known of these composers, wrote his brief, single-movement Parable, op. 125, in 1972. It’s one of about 25 Parables for various instrumental choices. This charming, highly motivic work sounds as though it’s a fantasy on an existing tune, but I’m not sure about that. The other solo piccolo work is the set of seven Preludes—Volume 4, in fact—by David Loeb (b. 1939), a Mannes College graduate and faculty member. These seven little pieces, ranging from about a minute to two minutes long, are significantly melodic, but touched enough with such effects as register shifts, trills, and tremolos in addition to melodic and rhythmic variation to be sufficiently contrasting. (And this is the fourth volume of such pieces, remember.)

Song of Spring with Little Variations and Fantasies for piccolo and guitar by composer-guitarist Allen Krantz is a nice seven-minute piece written for Herbine and himself to play. The variations are disparate in mood and adherence to the theme, resulting in abrupt shifts in tension and drama. The language is an extended tonality. Saltarello, “The Falcon” by St. Louis-based composer Stephen Mager (b. 1956) is a movement of about four-and-a-half minutes from a larger work for soprano, piccolo, and harp. Following a free introduction, the piece takes on the character of a scherzo. Although perhaps the most chromatic of these pieces, it always comes to rest on a tonal center.

Robert Kirzinger, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonatine de Giverny for Piccolo and Piano by Daniel Dorff
Performer:  Lois Bliss Herbine (Piccolo), Charles Abramovic (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 2000; USA 
Venue:  Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College 
Length: 10 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College (2000 - 2002) 
2.
Song of Spring with Little Variations and Fantasies by Allen Krantz
Performer:  Allen Krantz (Guitar), Lois Bliss Herbine (Piccolo)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2002; USA 
Venue:  Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College 
Length: 6 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Notes: Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College (2000 - 2002) 
3.
Fantasy for Piccolo and Piano by Willard Elliot
Performer:  Lois Bliss Herbine (Piccolo), Charles Abramovic (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; USA 
Venue:  Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College 
Length: 6 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Notes: Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College (2000 - 2002) 
4.
Preludes (7) for Piccolo, Volume 4 by David Loeb
Performer:  Lois Bliss Herbine (Piccolo)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 2000; USA 
Venue:  Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College 
Length: 10 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Notes: Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College (2000 - 2002) 
5.
The High and the Mighty by Michael Daugherty
Performer:  Lois Bliss Herbine (Piccolo), Charles Abramovic (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2000; USA 
Venue:  Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College 
Length: 7 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Notes: Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College (2000 - 2002) 
6.
Parable XII for Piccolo solo, Op. 125 by Vincent Persichetti
Performer:  Lois Bliss Herbine (Piccolo)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1973; USA 
Venue:  Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College 
Length: 3 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Notes: Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College (2000 - 2002) 
7.
Illuminations: Saltarello "The Falcon" by Stephen Mager
Performer:  Lois Bliss Herbine (Piccolo), Sophie Bruno (Harp)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2002; St. Louis, Missouri 
Venue:  Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College 
Length: 4 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Notes: Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College (2000 - 2002) 
8.
Night Flight by Howard J. Buss
Performer:  Lois Bliss Herbine (Piccolo), Allison Herz (Clarinet), Charles Abramovic (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999; USA 
Venue:  Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College 
Length: 9 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Notes: Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College (2000 - 2002) 

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