Carolyn Hove

Ascending to Superlatives

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This is a lovely selection of five diverse and well-chosen compositions featuring English horn. The soloist on the album, Carolyn Hove, has been the English horn soloist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 1988. The title of the disc comes from a review of her playing by Bruce Gbur: "I cannot describe Carolyn Hove's English horn playing without ascending into superlatives." Her tone quality is distinctive, rich and rounded, warm and substantial. She plays with fluency and striking agility. The music on this disc is primarily melodic in emphasis. Each work is written for a different lineup of partners, mostly fellow members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. An exception is the first piece, a lovely performance of the Evlogue, Op. 206 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Hove's partners here are Paul Viapiano, a guitarist who is an active session musician in L.A., and Mary Stolper, a flutist from Chicago. By turns mysterious and powerful, William Kraft's Encounter's XI is dramatically played by Hove and her partner, Raynor Carroll, principal percussionist with the LAPO. The mysteriously melodic Improvisations, Op. 67 No. 1 by Paul Turok features violinist Camille Avellano and pianist Gloria Cheng. Here, Hove succeeds in blending well with the unlikely ensemble. In Lyric Scene by Gerhard Samuel, Avellano is joined by fellow LAPO string players, violinist Ingrid Kuo Chun, and cellist Daniel Rothmuller. Finally, Hove and LAPO principal bassoonist David Beidenthal play a rapturous performance of Alan Hovhaness' Suite, Op 21. Hove herself produced the album, which was beautifully recorded in 1999 and 2000 at C.S.U., Los Angeles, by engineer Sonny Ausman. A very strong recommendation; a definite must for double reed fanciers.

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