Ruth Crawford SEEGER
String Quartet; Suites for Wind Quintet, Wind Quintet & Piano &
for Piano & Strings; Diaphonic Suites 1-4.
Pellegrini Quartet & Ensemble
CPO 999 670-2
Crotchet (special low price)
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
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