Marga RICHTER (b.1926) Snow Mountain: A Spiritual Trilogy
Qhanri (Snow Mountain) Tibetan Variations for cello and piano (1988) [33:50]
Requiem for solo piano (1978) [20:42]
Landscapes of the Mind II for violin and piano (1971) [17:18]
David Wells (cello); Marga Richter (piano) (Qhanri, Requiem); Daniel Heifetz (violin); Michael Skelly (piano) (Landscapes).
rec. American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters NYC (Qhanri, Requiem); Merkin Concert Hall, Hebrew Arts School, NYC, 1984 (Landscapes).
LEONARDA LE337 [71:50]
Leonarda Productions, Inc. is a not-for-profit and tax-exempt label supported with public funds from The New York State Council on the Arts. Its Founder and guiding mind and hand is Marnie Hall who is its Executive Director and Producer. The welcome Leonarda catalogue reaches into regions that the conventional and uniformed may see as fairly arcane. Good.
Marga Richter is prominent in their lists. In her programme notes for the present disc Richter tells us that the present three works, written over a seventeen year period, represent “a continuum of spiritual thought”.
Qhanri for cello and piano came about as a result of her visit to Tibet in 1986. It is in a theme and twenty-one variations. Richter maps the depths of the cheerful Tibetan people in predominantly tonal music of dignity, restraint and, finally, serenity. She is an unfalteringly serious composer as we can also hear in another all-Richter Leonarda CD: her Synge opera Riders to the Sea (LE358). There is nothing of the circus in her. Further evidence of that can be found in her 1992 Variations and Interludes on Themes from Monteverdi and Bach on Leonarda LE351.
Requiem began life as a work for solo guitar but morphed into one for piano. It is pensive and serene, slow of pulse and contemplative. The intensity of thought, mood and expression is unmistakable.
There are three Richter works with the title of Landscapes of the Mind. The first is for piano and large orchestra (1968-74). The third is a piano trio. They were written between 1968 and 1979. Landscapes of the Mind II is a work of chilly mien. The piano notes glitter icily, often pulsed out slowly against the marginally warmer and more demonstrative violin part. The piano speaks of some inhuman landscape while the other instrument appears to articulate a human being – albeit tranced - in that landscape. The result is quite hypnotic: “Oft in the stilly night” indeed. The music parallels the mood established by Holst in his Neptune and Betelgueuse.
The CD notes are by the composer herself. The artists appear eloquent and in sympathy with this very particular music.
These three works are kindred in their concentration and in their exploration of remote realms of thought.
Rob Barnett
These three works are kindred in their concentration and in their exploration of remote realms of thought.
Not reviewed here but not to be forgotten is:-

Journeys - Orchestral Works by Amerocan Women
Nancy VAN DE VATE (b.1930) Journeys (1984) [15:28]
Kay GARDNER (1941-2002) Rainforest (1977) [6:31]
Libby LARSEN (b.1950) Overture-Parachute Dancing (1984) [6:22]
Marga RICHTER (b.1926) Lament (1956) [10:57]
Katherine HOOVER (b.1937) Summer Night for strings and French horn (1985) [7:27]
Ursula MAMLOK (b.1928) Elegy from "Concertino" (1985) [6:21]
Jane BROCKMAN (b.1949) Perihelion II (1985) [12:21]
Bournemouth Sinfonietta; Arioso Chamber Ensemble/Carolann Martin
Peter Kane (French horn] (Hoover)
LEONARDA LE327 [65:27]