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Facets 2
Eric EWAZEN (b.1954)
Sonata (1995)
Joseph TURRIN (b.1947)
Two Portraits (1995)
James WINTLE (b.1942)
Northwest Miniatures (1998)*
Merrill ELLIS (1916-1981)
Trumpet Piece (1950)
Fisher TULL (1934-1994)
Vignette (1954)
Francine TRESTER (b.1969)
Patricia’s Aria (2004)
George GERSHWIN (1898-1937)
Someone to Watch Over Me (1926) arranged Joseph TURRIN (b.1947)
Kant KENNAN (1913-2003)
Sonata (1956 revised 1986)
John Holt (trumpet)
Paul Fried (flute)*
Natalia Bolshakova (piano)
Recorded at the Mesquite Arts Centre, Texas, May 2004


No sooner had I dashed off my review of Facets than this follow up volume arrived. All right, so maybe Facets 2 is more a film title than an example of imaginative descriptiveness but the Crystal team does at least stick to its guns with invincible logic.

As before John Holt is the primarius, relishing the demands and rewards of this repertoire. Ewazen’s Sonata makes for a fulsome start – lyric, fluent, nicely sprung, freshly generous and taking advantage (in the first movement) of spatial distance to generate a sense of remoteness without muting. We’re in broadly enriched nineteenth century territory for much of the time even though the finale feasts on some pungent and aromatic harmonies and some jazzy writing as well. Turrin constructs an elusive Psalm (the first of his Portraits)  - pliant and calm – and a more outgoing and conversational Incantation complete with craggy piano writing. James Wintle’s miniatures encompass a clever and rather saturnine Adagio espressione – complete with animated flute writing (the only time on the disc) – and muted trumpet in the Allegretto finale and its fluttering flute companion. There are sheerly lyric morceaux as well, from Merrill Ellis and Fisher Tull and a charming one from Francine Trester. To add some more novelty there’s also Turrin’s arrangement of Gershwin’s Someone to Watch Over Me and there’s a strongly argued 1956 (though 1986 revised) neo classical Sonata by Kent Kennan – shades of Hindemith here – with its deliciously unstoppable motoric finale.

The performances are excellent and the sound quality, in the Texas Mesquite Arts Centre, is thoroughly sympathetic and the notes are the infamous Crystal fold out jobs – origami style.

Jonathan Woolf


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