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Friday, September 23, 2016

Sima Wolf, En Prevision and Other Works

Composer Sima Wolf comes front and center for a close look at some of her pieces for chamber ensembles. En Prevision and Other Works (SPOXXX) gives us seven such, as performed beautifully by the Fontenoy Chamber Players and the Borealis Wind Quintet.

Her music has a lyrical post-impressionist flavor. She studied composition with Terry Riley and John Corigliano and branches off onto her own path in the works heard here. The pieces are well-scored for the instrumentation at hand. They fall into the tonal realm without sounding romantic or neo-classical, more pastoral and folk-like I suppose one could say.

"En Prevision" starts off the program. The title translates into "in anticipation, in readiness" and focuses on a mellifluous combination of harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet. Continuing with a charm and ambiance is her "Woodwind Quintet No. 1: The Chambers of Hemera," written for the Greek Goddess of Daytime as the representative of beauty and the appreciation of all the life that surrounds us.

Two short works follow: "Island" and "Birds of a Feather" for string quartet concentrate respectively on string sonorities and variations on a popular song. I must admit as to the latter that I am stumped but the music itself speaks eloquently regardless.

The sonic environment shifts with "Awakening" for solo flute and then "Nocturnal Landscapes" for solo piano. Each creates a mood of exploration and a delightful tonal panorama.

The finale "Brazilian Suite" for flute, harp and percussion is based on Brazilian forms--the chora, a sort of bossa nova and Afro-Brazilian roots. The music is rather irresistible and so we end an engaging and enchanting program with some heightening rhythmic flourishes.

I find the entire album extremely well put together and with a positive beauty and appreciation of nuance that give us hopeful and embracing images in sound.

It is the sort of music that should appeal to a broad spectrum of listeners for its lyric gentleness. Bravo Sima Wolf!

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