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Arlene Sierra Vol. 1

Cicada Shell; Ballistae and Colmena - International Contemporary Ensemble/Jayce Ogren
Book 1 of Birds and Insects - pianist Vassily Primakov
Surrounded Ground - Charles Niedich (clarinet), Stephen Gosling (piano), and the Daedalus Quartet
Two Neruda Odes - soprano Susan Narucki, cellist Raman Ramakrishnan, and Stephen Gosling piano

A significant young composer, based in Britain, who has astutely been adopted by Bridge Records in America, to their credit and, I hope, their profit.

This is all music of distinct originality and personality, played and recorded to highest standards.

All the music has literary backgrounds, which may have helped Arlene to structure her compositions, and makes for evocative reading about times and places distant, but perhaps are less necessary for listening *.

The ensemble music is complex but always clear, and one feels that every note is placed with intention.

The playing is exemplary, as is that of the young Russian pianist Primakov in a quarter-hour of solo music. He too has been 'adopted' by Bridge and has already achieved a wide ranging discography, ranging from Mozart concertos to one by Ruders.

A strong recommendation, a disc which I wil return to enjoy again when time allows.

Peter Grahame Woolf

* Arlene Sierra - Aquilo
- - three of the four works had clear extra-musical programmes. My unscientific impression is that the last twenty years have seen a huge upsurge in such works. Why? Does it matter? What has happened to ‘absolute’ music? Why are we so keen, apparently, on musical illustration? [The Classical Review]