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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


Tantara Records
P.O. Box 24498
Provo, UT 84602
1-800-879-1555
info@tantararecords.com
www.tantararecords.com

Helen TAYLOR (1915-1950)
The Collected Works

Symphony (1950) [27.54]
Sonata for two flutes unaccompanied (1950) [18.14]
Piano Sonata (1945) [13.20]
Violin Sonata (1942) [11.13]
LA East Studio Orchestra/Ralph Laycock (symphony)
Kelly Clark Parkinson (violin)
Grant Johannesen (piano)
Sally Humphreys; Jane Lyman (flutes)
rec. 2000 DDD
TANTARA RECORDS TCD 0900DHT-HS [65.25]


Helen Taylor, the wife of the pianist Grant Johannesen, died in an auto accident at the age of 34 in 1950. Under the wing of the Utahn recording company Tantara Records this collection has been issued and serves both as a source of pleasure and surprise and as a memorial to Helen Taylor's compositional talents.

The Symphony sounds familiar, drawn from gestures we more readily associate with Roy Harris and Tippett and suggestive of wide open spaces. Here she penned great wheeling string themes and haunting music for the woodwind. This is music to sear, search and probe, often wonderfully magical, full of verve and lightness and very personal. The symphony ends in a clangourous statement.

The Sonata for Two Flutes is a ‘Huntress Diana’ of a piece in four movements. It is businesslike and of Dionysiac speed accentuated by the intimacy of the breathy playing. The Piano Sonata’s spiky angularity is lightly dusted with dissonance and notable for its elegiac theme. After the two movement unconventionality of the Piano Sonata the Violin Sonata returns to conventional three movement form. This is jazzy and in the Gershwinnying finale wildly woolly.

The disc is extremely well documented - virtually an encyclopedia entry on the details of the life story of Helen Taylor and her music. A reputation rescued from unforgiving obscurity. Long overdue justice has now been done to the mid-Western music of Helen Taylor.

Rob Barnett

 



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