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Beth Anderson Swales & Angels

March Swale, Pennyroyal Swale, January Swale, Rosemary Swale, Piano Concerto, New Mexico Swale, and The Angel

Rubio String Quartet; Jessica Marsten, soprano; Joseph Kubera, piano, celeste; Andrew Bolotowsky, flute/piccolo; André Tarantiles, harp; Darren Campbell, string bass; David Rozenblatt, percussion; Gary M. Schneider, conductor

New World Records 80610-2 [mailto:ptai@newworldrecords.org]

Beth Anderson's type of minimalism, which has been characterised as 'New Consonant Music', has a substantial following in New York and Flanders, but is not often heard elsewhere nor reviewed frequently in Musical Pointers.

It was a pleasure to meet this successful American composer in Antwerp during 2001, and this picture reflects perfectly her sunny disposition. She aims to purvey 'beautiful music' which is yet not just a throw-back to the nineteenth century, and I reviewed her Three Swales in their Belgian premiere as "staggering, an over-the-top, exuberant set of flamboyant pieces in a post-Dvorak vein, played for all they were worth with collective virtuosity and much adored by the audience - - Three Swales was 'beautiful music' with a vengeance!" Beth Anderson was delighted with this appraisal, and readers must make of it what they will.

This newly released CD is of music from a live New York "portrait concert", which has been reviewed for Musical Pointers by Karen Sharf, whose assessment will serve also for the CD. Suffice it to add that the studio recording is clear, the instrumentalists play well, but Jessica Marsten is over-taxed by the tessitura of The Angel, even though she had sung the Queen of the Night & Zerbinetta; maybe it is the leaps and the vowels which make for problems.

For comprehensive background, see Beth Anderson's website at http://www.users.rcn.com/beand/


© Peter Grahame Woolf