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Ursula Mamlok Vols 3 & 4

Stray Birds Phyllis Bryn-Julson (soprano), Harvey Sollberger (flute) & Fred Sherry (cello) Capriccios (5) Heinz Holliger (oboe) & Anton Kernjak (piano) Fantasy Variations Jakob Spahn (cello) Panta Rhei Susanne Zapf (violin), Cosima Gerhardt (cello) & Heather O'Donnell (piano) Bagatelles (5) Helge Harding (clarinet), Kirsten Harms (violin) & Cosima Gerhardt (cello) String Quartet No. 2 Sonar String Quartet Confluences Helge Harding (clarinet), Kirsten Harms (violin), Cosima Gerhardt (cello) & Heather O'Donnell (piano) Kontraste Heinz Holliger (oboe) & Ursula Holliger (harp)

Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Harvey Sollberger, Fred Sherry, Heinz Holliger, Anton Kernjak, Jakob Spahn, Cosima Gerhardt, Susanne Zapf,Heather O'Donnell, Helge Harding, Kirsten Harms, Ursula Holliger, Sonar String Quartet

Bridge: 9360

A valuable portrait compilation of chamber music from Ursula Mamlok, a senior German-born/American composer new to me, who has remained fresh and exploratory well into her mid-eighties.

Many of her pieces are concise, indeed brief. Her language has changed, simplifying as she aged.

She says "My main concern is that the music should convey its various emotions with clarity and conviction. It interests me to accomplish this with a minimum of material, transforming it in such multiple ways as to give the impression of ever-new ideas that are like the flowers of a plant, all related yet each one different."

The programme is "bookended" by the famous oboeist, Heinz Holliger and I was particularly pleased to be reminded of the pioneering contemporary music specialist, Phyllis Bryn-Julson who used to be often responsible for introducing avant-garde high-soprano music to Britain. And to hear pianist Heather O'Donnell in chamber music - in Musical Pointers we have followed her career, now in happy abeyance for motherhood!

A well varied and expertly produced sequence of intriguing music which makes us want to catch up with Mamlok's Vols 1 & 2.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Vol 4 [Bridge 9361] is a bit of a dog's dinner, with far too many cooks stirring the broth.

Some attractive music again, but no coordination amongst the producers and booklet editors...

One had to delve the internet to find she's 90, her age absent in the booklet; inappropriate coy reticence from a thoroughly modern composer's annotator.

His notes, not very helpful anyway, seem to be in reverse order from the track-list, and hard to find because the pieces are named in italics, but not bold for easy spotting...

I enjoyed Rotations and Grasshoppers. The clarinet trio Fantasy would go well as a companionpiece for the Mozart trio for pft, vla & clarinet. There are no translations of the German songs.

Peter Grahame Woolf