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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


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Charles Martin LOEFFLER (1861-1935)
Music for Four Stringed Instruments (1917) [25.33]
String Quartet in A minor (1889) [25.36]
Quintet in One Movement for three violins, viola and cello (1894) [14.47]
DaVinci Quartet with Cora Cooper (violin) in Quintet
rec. Margaret Foote Hall, Lamont School of Music, Denver, Colorado, 13-16 Dec 1999
NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559077 [66.46]

Charles Martin Loeffler, Edward Burlingame Hill, Charles Griffes, Arthur Farwell and Louis Coerne between them represent various strands of the American romantic-exotic tendency. This particular group straddle the 19th into the 20th centuries. Griffes and Hill sometimes echo the Gallic-Impressionist style. Farwell was famous for his 'Indianist' works but his Dunsany-based tone poem The Gods of the Mountains and Coerne's Excalibur (both to be represented on Bridge's reissues of the SPAMH Krueger LP series of the 1960s) touch on a gaudy Russian approach with a Lisztian leaning towards legend and the tone poem.

Loeffler's talents as represented here by his music for string quartet will likely appeal to you if your tastes run to the chamber music of Franck, Chausson and Lekeu. Two of the three works are from the 1880s and 1890s. Both bear the traditional titles we associate with the late romantic era. The 1917 Music for Four Stringed Instruments does not adopt the revolutionary idiom we might expect from the non-conformist title. True we are in a new and murdurous age but for Loeffler the style of expression is still well and truly rooted in nineteenth century mulch. The bald title recognises the new world of poison gas, airplanes, mass produced Maxim and Hotchkiss machine guns and silent assailants in submarines. The reality is that Loeffler is more at ease in the romantic grand gesture than in the 'wild man' antics of Cowell and Ornstein.

Rob Barnett



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