JAN JÄRVLEPP (b.1953): Suite for Strings, HANS BAKKER (b.1945): Canzona III: Hidden in Her Light, CLIVE MUNCASTER (b.1940s?): Redcliffe Gardens - Suite for Strings (Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra; Petr Vronský, Stanislav Vavřínek), SHIRLEY MIER (b. circa 1967): Of Lakes and Legends (Croatian Chamber Orchestra; Miran Vaupotić).
Catalogue Number: 10U067
Label: Navona Records
Description: An attractive programme of tonal, neo-romantic music. Bakker's Canzona is a 'hymn to the Sun'. The outer movements of the tripartite structure are grand and imposing, a stately marching ground in triple time, latterly implied by the persistent rhythm but not sounded, charting the music's inexorable progress. The middle section is a graceful waltz. Järvlepp's enjoyable suite is high quality 'light music' with a pedagogical purpose; each movement highlights a specific technique for young string players, for whom the composer says that "fun is definitely allowed". Changing time signatures enliven the propulsive first piece; the second hides a study in register shifts behind a piece of easy-going symphonic rock; a kind of English pastorale follows, and then a lively dance whose syncopated rhythms, like the second movement, hints at the composer's non-classical past. Muncaster wrote his five otherwise unconnected movements while living in Redcliffe Gardens, London (coincidentally a couple of streets away from where John Ogdon lived in the late 1980s). The pieces explore various moods, including a Fuga romantica that does exactly what the title suggests, and a sprightly final dance. The Mier is a suite of four studies in time and place, evoking legends and locales around White Bear Lake in Minnesota. The first is a miniature dramatic tone poem whose programme is the Native American legend of how the lake got its name. The second is a piece of genially folksy, chugging train music, for an historical railroad, the third a genteel aquarelle of a 19th-century parlour musical gathering, and the finale breezily celebrates the tradition of boat races on the lake.