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Chamber Music Of Kerry Turner

Release Date: 02/13/2007 
Label:  Msr   Catalog #: 1186   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Kerry Turner
Performer:  Matthew MidgleyMartine Van der LooRemco De VriesSjef Douwes,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic Chamber Players
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

TURNER Berceuse for the Mary Rose. Quarter-After-Four. Sonata for Horn and Strings. Quartet No. 3. Rhapsody for 9 Instruments Rotterdam PC Players MSR 1186 (55:34)

This is one of those albums it would be easy to dismiss, or even just to miss . Only those who dare to try the new will awaken to the delights of Kerry Turner’s music (Turner is a member of the American Horn Quartet). There is Read more nothing overtly demanding here, just finely crafted short structures and delicious sonorities. Colored tonality might sum up the harmonic language, for there is no doubting the traditional roots of Turner’s vocabulary. The booklet notes refer to “Shostakovich-like” sounds and “Western-American style,” and in recent works it is apparently the latter that has triumphed. The term “Western-American style” actually refers to the world of the soundtracks of Westerns, by the way, very obviously heard in the first movement of the Sonata for Horn and Strings. More lately, Schoenberg has come forward as an influence ( Quarter-After-Four and the Rhapsody).

Apparently Turner is fascinated by historical event. Hence Berceuse for the Mary Rose (2004). The berceuse element reflects the sleeping, submerged ship. The reference to the 16th-century is made explicit by the use of King Henry VIII’s Pastime with Good Company . This is a delightful, well-crafted piece with what sounds like sea-shanty references, giving it a buoyant feel.

Quarter-After-Four , of eight years earlier, immediately sets up another sound world against the constant ticking of a clock. Is this quarter-after-four in the morning, one asks? (the title gives no indication, but the liner notes confirm that it is). An aural description of the trials and tribulations of insomnia, the piece depicts mild rather than nightmarish unrest. Perhaps Turner should just play himself a disc of the Goldbergs . The Horn Sonata (presumably played by Principal Horn Jos Buurman, although this is not explicitly confirmed) is given a supremely assured performance. The solo hornist plays with much jauntiness and certainly gives no impression of any difficulty. Stopped notes are perfectly steady and evocative. Scored for horn with string quartet, its jaunty, outdoorsy character married to a sparing use of effects is most appealing. The quartet (three members from the Royal Conservatory in the Hague, one from the Utrecht School of Arts) plays with great homogeneity of tone and seems to enjoy the more lush moments (try around 3:50 into the first movement).

The Quartet No. 3 for horn quartet joins works by Tippett and Hindemith for this combination. The first three movements each have a title evocative of the American Midwest in the 19th century—“The Sooners,” “The Homesteaders,” and “The Ghost Town Parade”—while the last movement is simply called Finale. The virtuosity of all four parts in the first movement is breathtaking (rapid-fire articulation is astonishingly clean), as are the stunningly accurate rhythmic unisons. “The Homesteaders” moves slowly and quietly (wind- and brass-players will appreciate the breath control here more readily than others), its stillness in contrast to the quasi-pointillism of the ensuing “Parade” and its throwaway, reveille-inspired melodies. The outgoing finale must have been a gas to play.

Finally, the Rhapsody for Nine Instruments (2002). Again there is a vague program—here recollections of various incidents in the composer’s life that appear as a string of four episodes. There is a principal theme that recurs in various guises over the work’s 12 minutes. The piece is, to my ears, the finest on the disc. Wide-ranging in its emotional world, it nevertheless appears suffused with the spirit of nostalgia, an impression supported by the titles of the sections: “The Story Behind the Scream,” “Return to the Scene of a Past Romantic Affair,” “Crossing a Street in Old Shanghai,” and “The Steeple of Belair Church.” It is not an insult but a compliment to Turner’s mode of expression to say that the composer could write extremely effective film music. Maybe he already has?

A fascinating disc. Performance standard is uniformly high, as I have implied. Recording standards match them.

FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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Works on This Recording

Berceuse for the Mary Rose by Kerry Turner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic Chamber Players
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2004; USA 
Quarter-After-Four by Kerry Turner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic Chamber Players
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996; USA 
Sonata for Horn and Strings by Kerry Turner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic Chamber Players
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993 
Quartet for 4 Horns no 3 by Kerry Turner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic Chamber Players
Period: 20th Century 
Rhapsody for Nine Instruments by Kerry Turner
Performer:  Matthew Midgley (Double Bass), Martine Van der Loo (Flute), Remco De Vries (Oboe),
Sjef Douwes (Clarinet), Bram Van Sambeek (Bassoon), Martin Van Der Merwe (French Horn),
Jos Buurman (French Horn), Wendy Leliveld (French Horn), Richard Speetjens (French Horn),
Maria Dingian (Violin), Noemi Bodden (Violin), Anne Hauser (Viola),
Alexander Prummel (Viola), Floris Mijnders (Cello), Carla Schrijner (Cello),
Alla Libo (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic Chamber Players
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2002 

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