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Brighton Brooklyn CHAN20248
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From Brighton to Brooklyn
Paul SCHOENFELD (b. 1947)
Four Souvenirs (1990) [11:47]
Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941)
Cradle Song, H 96 (1910) [3:08]
Romanze, H 45 (1904) [4:48]
Heart’s Ease, H 161a (1921) [2:26]
Florence Beatrice PRICE (1887-1953)
Elfentanz (date uncertain) [4:10]
Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990)
Two Pieces (1926) [9:37]
Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875-1912)
Ballade, Op 73 (1907) [12:36]
Amy Marcy Cheney BEACH (1867-1944)
Three Compositions, Op 40 (c. 1898) [9:48]
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)
Three Pieces from Suite, Op 6 (1934-35) [12:28]
Elena Urioste (violin), Tom Poster (piano)
rec. Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, UK, 9-11 March 2021
CHANDOS CHAN20248 [71:29]

The married duo of American Elena Urioste and Brit Tom Poster recently issued another disc of short works, The Jukebox Album, conceived during Covid lockdown and which impressed Bruce McCollum (review). Those were encore-length pieces, providing the listener with a good deal of enjoyment. The current disc also has mostly miniatures, but some of the compositions are more substantial. The performers likewise describe this as a “pandemic album.” The title of the album is apt in that all the pieces are either British or American, though the connection with either Brighton or Brooklyn is tenuous at best.

What we have is a collection of delightful music outside the standard repertoire and performed with relish by two very talented musicians. I surmise that much of the music on this disc will not be known to the majority of listeners, but all of it is representative of the respective composers. Although the journey is from the UK to the US, the order in which the works are presented does not follow that pattern and begins with the American Paul Schoenfeld’s Four Souvenirs. These pieces are in dance forms, including Samba, Tango, and Square Dance, and there is a tribute to Tin Pan Alley. The first two contain Latin American rhythms and the last, a rowdy hoe-down. The third, Tin Pan Alley, evokes the New York locale of popular song. Other dances consist of Amy Beach’s Mazurka (the third of her Three Compositions), Britten’s Waltz from his Three Pieces, Op 6, and Florence Price’s Elfentanz. The utterly diverting Elfentanz was a very pleasant surprise for me. It was one of many of her works only recently discovered and the composition date is unknown. Once heard, Elfentanz, is not easily forgotten. The second of Copland’s Two Pieces is Ukelele Serenade, dedicated to Samuel Dushkin. Its jazziness conjures up such dances as the foxtrot and Charleston.

Contrasting with these are such slower, gentler numbers as Frank Bridge’s Cradle Song, Copland’s bluesy Nocturne (the first of his Two Pieces), Beach’s Berceuse (the second of her Three Compositions), and Britten’s Lullaby from his Op. 6 Suite. The programme concludes on a restful, pensive note with Bridge’s Heart’s Ease where the piano part has bell-like chords that suggest an Eastern atmosphere. The most substantial work here is Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade that is placed mid-way in the programme. It was originally conceived with orchestral accompaniment, but usually performed as here with piano. It gives Urioste and Poster the opportunity to demonstrate a full range of skills from the rather solemn start of the piece to the impassioned passages later on. In all these works, Urioste’s virtuosity and lustrous tone beguile the listener and Poster is no mere accompanist. Theirs is a true partnership. The recorded sound is very clear, but not too close to the instruments, contributing to a pleasurable listening experience.

Chandos has provided substantial notes by Mervyn Cooke on the works, and the performers have added their own note on their choice of selections. This is a CD that can be enjoyed all the way through as a concert programme or dipped into for the individual works as one chooses. There are also numerous videos on YouTube of this artistic partnership, which were filmed during lockdown and are worth watching—not only for the performances themselves, but also for Urioste’s varied costumes.

Leslie Wright

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