SÉJOURNÉ: Attraction for Marimba, VIbraphone, Percussion and tape. XENAKIS: Rebounds A and B for Solo Percussion, PÄRT: for Anna Maria. Variations for the Healing of Arinushka. THOMAS: Merlin for solo Marimba. HAMILTON: Interzones for Vibraphone and Tape. PASTHAS: One Study One Summer for Marimba, Junk Percussion and Tape.
Christoph Sietzen, percussion
GENUINE CD 17465 TT: 65:27

HARTBERG: Concerto for Viola and Orchestra (2011/2012). Elegy (2007). WOLPERT: Viola Concerto No 1 "Giants." (2015)
Brett Deubner, viola. Southern Arizona Symphony Orchesstra / Linus Lerner, cond,.
NAXOS 8.559640 TT: 50:07

LAKS: String Qusartet No. 4 (1962). Divertimento for Violin, Clarinet, Bassoon, and Piano (1967). Sonatina for Piano (1927). Concertino for Oboe, Clarinet, and Bassoon ( 1965). Passacaille (1945) (version with clarinet). Vocalise. Quitet for Piano an Strings (1967).
ARC Ensemble. Juaquin Valdepeña, clarinet.
CHANDOS CD 10983 TT: 83:04

Here are three issues all containing music that will be new to most listeners, and two are of major importance. All are world premiere recordings, beautifully performed and recorded with state-of-the-art sonics The first features young German percussion virtuoso Christoph Sietzen in the program listed above. It is a group of contemporary works, many of which have been arranged by the artist. It is a fascinating aural experience, with a wide range of percussion sounds, from the virtually inaudible to the roaring climaxes. On YouTube you can see Sietzen performing these works; perhaps eventually they will be available on DVD. And if you enjoy masters of percussion be sure to investigate Evelyn Glennie Glennie's Luxembourg concert (REVIEW).

Brett Deubner, a major figure on today's viuola scene, has given countless concerts both as soloist and with chamber groups. More importantly, he has broadened the repertory of concertos for his instrument having already sponsored more than 30 concertos. Among the most reent are Amanda Harberg's Viola Concerto written 2011/2012. Harberg (b. 1973) who has produced this delightful, joyous three-movement work with the soloist supported by colorful orchestration. Her Elegy, a brief reverent piece, was composed earlier, in memory of a berloved teacher Max Wolpert (b. 1883) is a distingujished teacher and advocate for new music. Much of his writing is about historic tales, muyths andf legends, reflected in his Viola Concerto. This is subtitled Giants. There are three descriptive movements: Father Time, The Golden Harp, and Dance of the Cloud Women, the latter a somewhat exotic oriental dance. Both of these concertos are intriguing, if not major, additions to the repertory. For a new viola concerto that is a major addition, check out the amazing Viola Concerto by Emil Tabakov, praised on this site (REVIEW).

The new concertos by Harberg and Wolpert are polayed very well, with the Southern Arizona Orchestra offering rich accompaniment under Linus Lermer's apt direction. Excellent audi. This is a excellent unusual addition to the catalog.

Chandos here offers premiere recordings of an unknown composer, Szymon Laks/ Born in Warsaw November 1, 1901, he spent some time studying in Vienna and later moved to Paris where he continued studies, played the violin for salon concerts, and the piano for silent movies. He was a survivor of Auschwitz primarily because of his musical ability. Laks was a remarkable linguist speaking fluently Polish, Russian, French, German, and English, famous for his numerous translations of various major works, seemingly losing interest in musical composition. This disk has a wide selection of his chamber music, as outlined above.. From what is heard on this CD, his music was very much influenced by French Impression. However, there are no forgotten treasures here. The music is attractive but of limited musical substance no mater how well played. . Perhaps of greatest interest is the Piano Sonatina written in 1927, but even that fails to hold interest. The ARC Ensemble consists of violinists Erika R Raum and Marie Bérard; violist Steven Dann' cellist Winona Zelenka; clarinetist Joaquin Valdepeñas' and pianistpianists David Louie and Diane Werner. They do what van be done for this music. The Chandos recording is excellent.

R.E.B. (August 2017)