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Larry BELL (b. 1952)
Reminiscences and Reflections Op.46 (1993/8)
Jonathan Bass (piano)
rec. Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA, USA, June 2002 and June 2003

Larry Bellís Reminiscences and Reflections Op.46, subtitled Twelve Preludes and Fugues, were composed intermittently between 1993 and 1998. The title is partly justified by the fact that the half of the set reminisces on material heard in some of the composerís other works. For example, the Prelude and Fugue in F (No. 6) was the model for the second movement of the Bassoon Concerto The Sentimental Muse Op.45 completed in 1967 ( N/S R1031 review). The Prelude Habanera and Fugue in C sharp (No.2) are elaborations on the first movement of Song and Dance Op.44 (also on N/S R 1031), whereas the Preludes and Fugues in G (No.8), in A flat (No.9) and in A (No.10) are the Ďpiano modelsí of the second, third and fourth movements of Song and Dance. The Fugue in A also provided the conclusion of Four Pieces in Familiar Style Op.41 for two violins (N/S R 1033 review). The Fugue in B flat (No.11) is adapted from the first movement of Mahler in Blue Light Op.43 - Barking Dog BDR 2181 also reviewed here some time ago. Finally, the Prelude and Fugue in F sharp not only refers to River of Ponds Op.25 for cello and piano ( N/S R 1018 review) but also to the preceding Prelude and Fugue in F (No.6). The remaining Preludes and Fugues were written independently of any other music by the composer.

It would be idle to go through each Prelude and Fugue in detail. Suffice to say that the whole cycle is a very attractive and nicely contrasted set of miniatures, all superbly crafted and cast in a colourful, accessible idiom. The music can be fully appreciated without any prior knowledge of the various connections with the other pieces mentioned. Bellís Reminiscences and Reflections Op.46 is a welcome addition to the already long series of Preludes and Fugues. It should be avidly picked up by any pianist willing to add a less familiar, but rewarding and enjoyable set to his/her repertoire.

Jonathan Bass plays superbly throughout and proves an eminent and convincing advocate of Bellís consistently fine and attractive music.

Hubert Culot



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