- Light Refracted, for clarinet, violin, viola, cello & piano
- Scenes from the Poet's Dreams, for piano, left hand & string quartet
- An Exaltation of Larks, for string quartet
American composer Jennifer Higdon is known mostly for orchestral works that have bridged the divide between popular and academic composition: they are lyrical, accessible, and tonal, but they are quite economically constructed, and they refer themselves to the rigor of the grand tradition in a way that has appealed to prize boards including that of the Pulitzer. Colorful and idiomatic orchestration is her calling card, but chamber groups are finding that her talents also transferred well to that medium. The string quartet "An Exaltation of Larks" is probably her most popular chamber work. Like much of Higdon's music it builds into exotic textural realms from fairly straightforward beginnings, and it's not an easy work for the players. The Lark Quartet, appropriately enough, has made a specialty of this work and are both in command of its technical challenges and able to put across the essential lyricism that may bring Vaughan Williams to mind. "Scenes from the Poet's Dreams," composed in 1999, has a specific program: "What kind of dreams would a poet have?" Higdon wrote. "The poet might be the main character or s/he might also be just a part of the fabric, observing from the sidelines." The poet is represented by the piano in the piano quintet texture, here offering a part for the left hand alone. The part is performed by Gary Graffman, who has recorded little since an injury to his right hand in the 1970s, and some will prize this recording for his presence alone. "Light Refracted, for clarinet, violin, viola, cello, and piano," whose two movements were composed at different times, is related to Higdon's orchestral work blue cathedral, which depicts one of Claude Monet's magically hazy cathedral paintings. Again Higdon gives unusually direct appeal to a basically abstract idea. With fine sonics from Bridge's engineers, working at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, this can be recommended for those wanting to sample Higdon's smaller works.