Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Len Mullenger:

Paul CHIHARA The Tempest - ballet in two acts.    The Performing Arts Orchestra/Jean-Louis LeRoux   rec 7 April 1981 U.C. Berkeley REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-10CD ADD [74.30]

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This music, long-known to me by reputation from a review in Fanfare, but only heard recently, is a very free arrangement of music written by Purcell for The Fairy Queen and The Tempest. Chihara clearly has no aspirations to authentic style simply a wild and kaleidoscopic imagination let loose on some promising material.

There are 31 tracks. The Drunk Trio is lugubriously boozy. A Spanish warmth infuses the Table Dance. Sebastian's Solo is hefted by some bruising brass. Chihara is very good at the lumbering grandeur of Handel. Ferdinand's solo is a tremulously tuneful sax solo recalling Chihara's Saxophone concerto. The trumpet pas-de-deux evokes a restoration dance. The Lovers' Pas De Deux takes in Canteloube, Prokofiev and Friedhofer's music for The Best Years of Our Lives - all ripe with sentimental fancy. Rye Rag is a meretricious lapse in inspiration - all kitschy speakeasy. Centaur's Solo suggested an influence by Malcolm Arnold. There is a sleepy Danse Generale rising to a Handelian grand shindig. Invention is at a lower order in the Lovers' Third Pas De Deux. The Farewell retreats into gestures of antiquity not with Stravinskian neo-classicism but with a clear-eyed mellow ripeness.

Perhaps you have discovered the ballet music of Paul Reade. This music, while different, would enthuse anyone who warms to the late Paul Reade's ballets or indeed to anyone curious about one of America's most overlooked masters. Not to be missed.


Rob Barnett



Rob Barnett

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