WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Bell: Collection Of Reflections / North/South Ensemble


Release Date: 01/24/2006 
Label:  North/South Recordings   Catalog #: 1042   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Elizabeth Bell
Performer:  Elizabeth FarnumMax LifchitzStephen Drake
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North/South Consonance
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Based on this collection, Elizabeth Bell (b. 1928) is a composer not as well known as she deserves. The pieces range from 1971 to 1991, and while the overriding style for this music tends to be a sort of Bergian romanticism, there’s a strong personality that asserts itself in every piece. Conservative but never timid, would be my capsule description. The 1983 Loss-Songs is the most substantial work on the program, a cycle dealing with deep personal pain from the death of married love and the parting of children from the nest. It sets such heavyweights as Plath and Berryman, but perhaps the most successful song is the fourth, “Amiable,” with a text by the composer, which reaches a directness and deep rhythm of expression that goes beyond the Read more usual expressionist template. I found a satisfying gravity in the 1972 Second Sonata for piano, rendered with authority by Max Lifchitz. The 1991 River Fantasy for flute and string trio (the musicians are Lisa Hansen, flute; Jesse Mills, violin; Ah-Ling Neu, viola; and Rubin Kodheli) is the biggest leap in terms of musical language. It begins with a sort of coloristic, aleatoric-sounding flourish, and moves through a series of fanciful textures that retain the listener’s interest throughout. It shows a composer always open to the changing world around her, both natural and musical.

All the performances are excellent. This is one of a series of recordings on the North/South Recordings label, which uses performers from the eponymous ensemble, and features composers that director/composer Max Lifchitz has advocated over the years. He does us a service in highlighting Bell’s work in this disc.

FANFARE: Robert Carl
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Loss-Songs by Elizabeth Bell
Performer:  Elizabeth Farnum (Soprano), Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
2.
Fantasy-Sonata by Elizabeth Bell
Performer:  Stephen Drake (Cello), Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
3.
River Fantasy by Elizabeth Bell
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North/South Consonance
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
4.
Sonata no 2 for Piano by Elizabeth Bell
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
5.
Soliloquy by Elizabeth Bell
Performer:  Stephen Drake (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title