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Ruth Crawford SEEGER
Chamber Works
String Quartet; Suites for Wind Quintet, Wind Quintet & Piano & for Piano & Strings; Diaphonic Suites 1-4.
Pellegrini Quartet & Ensemble Aventure
CPO 999 670-2 [63.15]
 (special low price)  Amazon UK  Amazon USA

Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-1953) was an American ultramodernist in the 1920s & 1930s and she returned to composition briefly in the '50s, writing the Suite for Wind Quintet included here shortly before her death. During the intervening period she concentrated her attention upon American folk song.

She is best known for the String Quartet (1931) which has earned a place in the repertoire and is often played in concerts of, mainly, contemporary music. She developed an abstract, constructivist method, striving for a systematic, rational foundation, using her husband Charles Seeger's 'dissonant counterpoint', and 'diaphony' which controlled pitch and extended to rhythm. Her Diaphonic Suites (for oboe solo, bassoon & cello, 2 clarinets, and oboe & cello) explore non-repetitive melody and rhythm, freed from tonal and metrical emphases.

This is a valuable and comprehensive collection of forthright, clear-headed music, arranged well in a sequence which varies the instrumentation between wind and strings, and from one voice to six. The recording is clear and close, rather dry though not inappropriately so, and the production is well presented with a comprehensive essay about this interesting woman composer's life and theoretical development, with good notes on technical aspects of each work.


Peter Grahame Woolf



Peter Grahame Woolf

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