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Ethelbert Nevin

[November 2021.]

Experiments in Living.” Johannes BRAHMS: String Quartet in C minor, Op. 51, No. 1 (1873). Arnold SCHOENBERG: String Quartet No. 3, Op. 30 (1927). Ruth CRAWFORD SEEGER: String Quartet (1931). Sam PLUTA: binary/momentary logics: flow state/joy state (2016). Anthony CHEUNG: The Real Book of Fake Tunes (2015)*. Charmaine LEE: Spinals (2018)**. George LEWIS: String Quartet 1.5: Experiments in Living (2016). Spektral Quartet: Clara Lyon, Maeve Feinberg (vln), Doyle Armbrust (vla), Russell Rolen (vlc), Claire Chase* (fl), Charmaine Lee** (voice, electronics). New Focus Recordings FCR270 (2 CDs) (

Eclectic anthology aside, the Spektral Quartet advises hitting shuffle so that Lewis may frolic amongst Crawford and Schoenberg, etc. MAYBE.

Animism.” Tonya TAGAQ: Var. comps. (2014) Six Shooter Records SIX086 (1 CD) (

Not easy to classify, but worth the listen to hear Tagaq’s mysterious combination of Inuit throat singing, rock, folk plus concrète. MAYBE.

Ethel SMYTH: String Quartet (1902-12)1; String Quintet (1884)2. Joachim Griesheimer2 (vlc), Mannheimer Streichquartett1,2: Andreas Krecher, Claudia Hohorst (vln), Niklas Schwarz (vla), Armin Fromm (vlc). cpo 999 352-2 (1 CD) (

The Quintet reassures and sounds familiar (Grieg? Mendelssohn?), and you will wonder why this polished Quartet has vanished from view. YES.

Vítězslava KAPRÁLOVÁ: Prélude de Noël (1939)1; Military Sinfonietta, Op. 11 (1936-37)2; Sad Evening (1936; compl. Timothy CHEEK, 2005)3; Waving Farewell, Op. 14 (1938)4; Suite en miniature, Op. 1 (1935; arr. for orch.)5; Piano Concerto in D minor, Op. 7 (1935)6. Nicholas Phan3,4 (ten), Amy I-Lin Cheng6 (pno), University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra1,2,3,4,5,6, Kenneth Kiesler1,2,3,4,5,6 (cond.). Naxos 8.574144 (1 CD) (

Her life cut short at 25 and forgotten in WWII’s wake, Kaprálová’s legacy fogs in this sampler. Would she have been Romantic or Modern? NO.

Leonid POLOVINKIN: Dzuba (1936); Danse lyrique, Op. 21, No. 2 (1929); Humoresque No. 2 (1937); Les attraits (1938); Septième Événement (1928); Humoresque (1933); Valse and Berceuse, Nos. 4 and 5 from 6 Morceau, Op. 30 (1928); Deux Événements, Op. 5 (1922); Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 18 (1927). Anait Karpova (pno). Fuga Libera FUG555 (1 CD) (

Artful but unfairly forgotten piano music from Russia, from the 1920-30s, suggesting promise, magic and an auspicious unrealized future. YES.

Anthony RITCHIE: Symphony No. 5, “Childhood” (2016-18). Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Kenneth Young (cond.). Rattle RAT-D109 (1 CD) (

After the opening’s clever music-box effect, the symphony drags. Not just curmudgeons but children of all ages will fidget and daydream. NO.


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