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Arlene Zallman: Sei la terra che aspetta

Variations on Marenzio's Villanella 'Alma che fai' (1993)
Lois Shapiro, piano
Trio 'Triquetra' (1999)
Triple Helix Piano Trio: Lois Shapiro, piano; Bayla Keyes, violin; Rhonda Rider, cello
East, West of the Sun (1996)
Wellesley College Chamber Singers, Wellesley College Chamber Orchestra / Brian Hulse
Sei la terra che aspetta (1990) Hekun Wu, cello; Elise Yun, piano
Nightsongs (1988) Karol Bennett, soprano; Leone Buyse, flutes; Michael Webster, clarinets


This is an interesting compilation, a labour of love completed after her death by a significant and original composer's daughter Minna. Allen Anderson describes her music aptly as "intimate and contained without being fragile, brittle or precious"; and Martin Boykan: "highly chromatic but filled with tonal reference - - extended tonality still capable of yielding original, deeply expressive music". I endorse those assessments.

Her Variations work backward to the theme (c.f. D'Indy's Istar "variation in the reverse"), manipulating melodic material rather than harmony, which is more usual.

Sei la terra che aspetta
sets a poem without voice! East, West of the Sun is a group of short songs, recorded rather roughly at the College where Zallman taught composition for over thirty years. It deserves to be re-recorded with some of those other of her works cited by Minna Proctor for possible future recording.

I wish this disc success and another of this interesting composer's music to follow.

Peter Grahame Woolf

I am less enthusiastic about another from Bridge [BRIDGE 9331].

The Nielsen Chaconne is well played and satisfactorily interpreted but there are others of it in better programmes.

Andrew Rangell is indulgently "over-expressive" in Haydn's F minor variations (which, surprisingly, were new to him !) and similarly he overdoes rubato in Schubert.

And he over-values Bizet's set, which has three of its variatons lazily tremolo-based (shamelessly so, Rangell concedes).

And for Brahms, I have last week recommended Ohlssohn's unmissable double-CD of the Variations complete at half price, which leaves Rangell right out of court. PGW