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Reviews: Cowell: Piano, Chamber, and Vocal Works

The MHS Review 389 Vol. 11 No.11 1987

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H. Wiley Hitchcock, ISAM Newsletter (May 1987)


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Continuum: Cheryl Seltzer, Joel Sachs, Directors

Continuum, the New York-based chamber group directed by Cheryl Seltzer and Joel Sachs, presents a whole album of Cowelliana. The biggest piece on it is the dazzling quarter-hour long Set of Five (1952) for violin, percussion, and piano (previously recorded by the dedicatees of the work, Maro and Anahid Ajemian); smallest is the 30-second long What's This?('' motoric force gone berserk,'' writes Sachs in his excellent jacket notes); and somewhere in between are half a dozen other pieces, of which the most interesting are the unpublished Elegie (composed in the early 1940s for the dancer Hanya Holm)--a sort of diatonicized Banshee, and like that famous howler played entirely on the piano strings--and Sunset and Rest, two songs of 1933 to texts by Carl Ruggles' daughter Catherine.

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