Henry Cowell: Instrumental, Chamber and Vocal Music, Vol. 2

Henry Cowell: Instrumental, Chamber and Vocal Music, Vol. 2

by Continuum


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Although it would appear that Cowell: Instrumental, Chamber and Vocal Music 2 is a follow-up to Continuum ensemble's Naxos American Classics release Cowell: Instrumental, Chamber and Vocal Music 1, it is actually the latter's predecessor and successor. Initially recorded for vinyl release on Musical Heritage Society in 1984, this was among the first generation of digital recordings of classical music made in the U.S. With Cowell: Instrumental, Chamber and Vocal Music 2's initial appearance on compact disc in 1992, "Homage to Iran" and "Casual Developments (6)" were added to the program to make it a little longer. In direct comparison, Cowell: Instrumental, Chamber and Vocal Music 2 is both a more interesting program and a better recording than its companion. The piano pieces, played by Continuum's co-leader Cheryl Seltzer, are more gratifying choices than those on the first volume, containing "Euphoria" and "Elegie" -- fascinating Cowell piano pieces of the 1920s that remain unpublished items. Clarinetist David Krakauer delivers a lively performance of the "Casual Developments (6)," revealing these pieces as children of the jazz age, albeit that the work was written in 1933. Baritone Raymond Murcell tackles the treacherous vocal intricacies of Cowell's "Poems of Catherine Riegger" and emerges the winner. Cowell's mutually complementary violin, percussion, and piano pieces "Homage to Iran" and "Set of Five" serve here as appropriate and pleasing bookends to the collection. New York-based Continuum is a first-class chamber organization under the direction of Joel Sachs and Seltzer, winning considerable acclaim for its challenging and original approach to programming contemporary music. Continuum ensemble's relationship with the music of Henry Cowell goes back to its third season as a performing unit, and it has periodically revived and refined its interpretations of his chamber works, presenting them all over the world. The intervening time between this disc's original release and its reissue on Naxos has hardly created a crowded condition for Cowell's music in the catalog, and these recordings are as fresh and timely as ever.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/22/2005
Label: Naxos American
UPC: 0636943919323
catalogNumber: 8559193
Rank: 135175


  1. Homage to Iran, for violin & piano, HC 845
  2. Piece for Piano with Strings, for piano & piano strings (Two Movements No. 1), HC 389/1
  3. Vestiges, for piano, HC 305
  4. Euphoria, for piano, HC 454
  5. What's This?, for piano (First Encore To Dynamic Motion), HC 213/2
  6. Elegie for Hanya Holm, for piano, HC 669
  7. The Banshee, for piano strings, HC 405
  8. Songs (2) for Low Voice & Piano (Sunset/Rest), HC 492
  9. Casual Developments (6), for clarinet & piano (with optional celesta), HC 491
  10. Set of Five, for violin, piano & percussionist, HC 779

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