Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Ursula MAMLOK (b.1923)
Sintra, for Alto Flute and Cello (1969) [5:59]
Polyphony I, for Solo Clarinet (1968) [8:12]
Wild Flowers, for Solo Violin (1987) [4:40]
Der Andreasgarten, for Mezzo-Soprano, Flute and Harp (1987) [14:57]
Sculpture I, for Piano (1965) [2:13]
Love Song of Two Pigeons, for Piano (1991/1993) [0:56]
Five Intermezzi for Guitar (1984-1990) [6:52]
Two Bagatelles for String Quartet (1961) [2:57]
From My Garden, for Solo Violin (1983) [5:59]
Suite for Violin and Piano (1960) [3:50]
Sonar Trajectory, for Magnetic Tape (1966) [4:07]
Claire Chase (alto flute); David Eggar (cello); Allen Blustine (clarinet); David Bowlin (violin); Rebecca Jo Loeb (mezzo); Tara Helen O'Connor (flute); June Han (harp); Garrick Ohlsson (piano) [Sculpture, Love Song]; Daniel Lippel (guitar); Daedalus Quartet (Min-Young Kim, Kyu-Young Kim (violins), Jessica Thompson (viola), Raman Ramakrishnan (cello)); Jacob Greenberg (piano) [Suite]
rec. New York, October 2007; December 2007 [Sculpture I, Love Song]; September 2009 [5 Intermezzi]; December 2009 [Andreasgarten]. DDD
BRIDGE 9293 [62:02]

Experience Classicsonline

This is Volume 2 in Bridge's series dedicated to the German-born American composer Ursula Mamlok. Volume 1 was released in 2009, and is reviewed here. Many of the same soloists feature on the current disc, which was presumably recorded at the same time.
The fact that there are 11 full works over 32 tracks, yet the CD still only lasts 62 minutes, indicates that Mamlok is not a composer to mince notes. More about her life and music can be found at her website.
Six of these works date back to the 1960s, with 'date' being the operative word in some cases. Sculpture I for piano, for example, was composed in 1965, and sounds like it. An ephemeral study in colour and texture, it is very reminiscent of one of Stockhausen's shorter Klavierstücke. The earliest work is the Suite for Violin and Piano, only unearthed among Mamlok's manuscripts by Barry Wiener - who supplies the detailed liner-notes - in 2004, along with the Two Bagatelles for String Quartet. Mamlok wrote the Suite whilst studying twelve-tone technique under Stefan Wolpe - a fact which should tell anyone familiar with Wolpe's music what the Suite sounds like. Webern-like in places, this is a jerky, uncompromising exploration, and, like a fair bit of Mamlok's music, not for those who need a good tune. On the other hand, its four movements are under four minutes long in total, so make a reasonable place for anyone to dip a toe in the chill waters of serialism.
A little easier on the ears are the Two Bagatelles for String Quartet, finally premičred in 1994, the year before the Suite. This is another twelve-tone work, but by this time Mamlok was studying with Gunther Schuller, and this piece has a slightly more approachable, tonal feel to it, like a burst of Janácek at his grittiest.
Polyphony I and Sintra are from the end of the 1960s, and more hospitable ground for it. Polyphony I for solo clarinet consists of four short movements, each pushing the instrument to its virtuosic limits in different ways. Trills and tremolos in the first section give way to palindromes in the second, interval leaping and an ffff dynamic in the third, before fading into oblivion in the longer, more reflective finale. The alto flute in Sintra performs similar kinds of razzle-dazzle, with a few downright unearthly sounds thrown in. Much use is made of dynamic leaps and sforzando, giving the work a fidgeting, noisy feel.
Tacked onto the end of the disc, in a tacked-onto-the-end kind of way, there is Sonar Trajectory. Composed on magnetic tape in 1966, this work now sounds rather dated, with computer-generated beeps and whirrs and whooshes pulsating back and forth rather randomly between left and right channels.
The remaining five works come from a ten year period beginning in 1983 with From My Garden, one of two pieces for solo violin. In this, incidentally the longest single movement of music by far on the disc, at six minutes, Mamlok sets herself the unusual challenge of writing a tonal work using serial procedures for pitch and rhythm. Though again challenging music, both for listener and performer - at times soloist David Bowlin sounds like he has a bow in each hand - this is an ultimately satisfying, sometimes haunting work.
The other piece for solo violin is Wild Flowers, a generally more energetic affair, though punctuated with quiet pizzicato, and overall sounding reflective and improvised, like a cadenza for a late 20th century violin concerto; one of the more readily approachable pieces.
The second work on the disc for solo piano is the ultra-brief Love Song of Two Pigeons, which Mamlok wrote as a birthday present for her husband in 1991, but which was not premičred until last year. According to the notes, there is a fortissimo climax in octaves, but not in this performance by Gary Ohlsson.
The Five Intermezzi for Guitar is probably the most accessible work on the disc, having a touch of the Villa-Lobos or Leo Brouwer about it. There are two very brief movements either side of the more substantial, but still only three and a half minute, central section.
Finally on this motley release, there is a vocal work, Der Andreasgarten, for mezzo-soprano, flute and harp. This is a setting by Mamlok of a poem by her husband in German, a homage to the natural microcosm of the family garden in California. The opening section refers to the San Andreas faultline upon which the garden is situated, and which gives the poem its title. An old tree, morning dew, hummingbird, dragonfly, noon sun and doves provide material for the following sections, until the song ends as it starts, in Sprechstimme, with a reference to the slumbering Andreas, and the mezzo's voice finally falling eerily into the earth. This is the profoundest work on the CD - still very modernist, hovering somewhere between impressionism and expressionism, but well worth the effort of a close listening two or three times over.
Unfortunately, Bridge's booklet provides no notes at all about the performers - rather meanly, considering the virtuosic demands Mamlok's music makes on them relentlessly. Claire Chase's alto flute, Allen Blustine's clarinet and David Bowlin's violin are all particularly commendable, as is Rebecca Jo Loeb's outstanding performance in Der Andreasgarten, where she is equal throughout to Mamlok's very difficult music. And, unusually for an American, her German pronunciation is generally sehr gut!
As usual, Bridge's sound quality is excellent, with only the occasional minor deviation, to be expected when more than one recording location is used - From My Garden, for example, has a bit of background hiss/hum.












































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.