Chamber Music Palm Beach

Illuminations

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In this refreshing album, Chamber Music Palm Beach presents several attractive but unduly neglected modern works, many of which have waited decades for a revival. The Chôros No. 7 by Heitor Villa-Lobos is bumptious and a little confusing in its counterpoint and tricky cross-rhythms, but its rude humor and Brazilian color make it an engaging work. André Jolivet's Pastorales de Nöel is a quieter affair, and though its four movements are conservative in style, its melodic simplicity and natural tone colors are sufficient for this modest work's goals. Malcolm Arnold's neo-Classical Trio for flute, viola, and bassoon is filled with exuberance and wit, and is the most pointedly comical piece on the disc. Clark McAlister's Le Rideau rouge is the single contemporary offering, and was specifically composed for this ensemble. Its blending of Baroque forms with a mid-twentieth century American contrapuntal style lend it the enigmatic quality of pastiche, yet without obvious references. Emile Paladilhe's sentimental Danse noble is an obscure item, discovered and arranged by McAlister for this recording and played with a romantic warmth that is unusual among the selections. Bohuslav Martinu's bustling Nonet gives the group ample opportunity for virtuosic playing and brings the program to a vivacious conclusion.

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