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Mist Over The Lake
João Guilherme RIPPER (b.1959).
Kinderszenen [7.52]
Pierre-Max DUBOIS (1930-1995)
Ballade Medievale [4.15]
Arthur BLISS (1891-1975)
Conversations [14.14]
Patrick STOYANOVICH (b.1962)
Seven Short Pieces [9.31] 
Napoléon COSTE (1805-1883)
Three Pieces [11.46]
Leone SINIGALIA (1868-1944)
Twelve Variations on a Theme by Franz Schubert (c.1894)  [8.31]
Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834-1886)
Capriccio [11.23]
Jan FREIDLIN (b.1944)
Mist over the Lake (1985) [4.00]
Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida (oboe)
Rhian Kenny (flute)
Andrés Cárdenes (violin)
Paul Silver (viola)
David Premo (cello)
Marina diPretoro (piano)
James Feria (guitar)
No recording details

Crystal Records tends to cast its net wide and handsome when compiling its CDs and this one is no different. Composers both known and obscure in works both little known and under-recorded are the constituency of this latest disc, one that focuses on the talent of Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida.
Ripper – whom I’d never heard of before – was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1959. He wrote his Kinderszenen in obvious admiration for Schumann – in fact the composer’s name appears in the opening of the three movements in which the model is deliberately evoked. There are some energetic Brazilian moments in the Children’s Song round that forms the finale – percussive raps and wide dynamics. Dubois’s Ballade Medievale is a warm and self-defining piece, published by Leduc though the notes don’t say when. Dubois studied with Milhaud but this piece could have been written by Louis de Caix d'Hervelois.
Arthur Bliss’s Conversations doesn’t seem to be available other than in this new performance, which is therefore highly welcome. The chatter and drone of the Committee Meeting are well caught, as is the sheer warmth of In the Wood. I liked the plangency of Soliloquy, with its solo-Bach like moments, as I did the vivacity of In the Tube at Oxford Circus. This was once recorded on acoustic 78s but that recording has only been re-issued by Symposium (CD 1202).
Patrick Stoyanovich’s Seven Short Pieces zip by in nine and a half minutes. The piano often exudes a jazz tinge but they’re not otherwise especially memorable. Coste’s Three Pieces are again undated but are presumably from the mid-nineteenth century. Coste was a fine guitarist and wrote widely for the instrument and here we have three pieces for oboe and guitar. They’re mellifluous and rather charming. Sinigaglia is much better known but his music tends to languish in libraries or lies yellowing in drawers. I can’t prophecy resurrection for his Schubert variations which are, to be frank, rather youthful works but it is interesting to hear some of the influences on him at the time – around 1894-1900 - when he was studying in Vienna. Dvořák looms large, a touch of Brahms as well, and some residual Schumannesque voices as well. It’s relatively youthful as noted but I have to say rather wittily done.
Ponchielli’s arching operatic Capriccio is a song without words. It’s full of his accustomed lyrical gift but is severely over-extended at over eleven minutes and could do with pruning to a third of its size. Finally there is Freidlin’s piece, the one that gives its name to the disc, Mist over the Lake. He was born in Siberia in 1944, became head of Music Theory at the Stolyarsky College and then moved to Israel in 1990. Mist over the Lake was originally written as part of a suite for violin and piano called Forest Pictures. Given his background it seems odd to say it but there’s something of the County Kerry about Freidlin’s mist.
Another typically adventuresome venture from Crystal. Not much is top drawer – in fact nothing is if we’re being honest - but then that’s not the point. There’s variety and instrumental colour all along the way, a fine recording, the usual “where next?” foldout booklet (they confuse me every time). One for the questing oboe maven.
Jonathan Woolf


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