So in that vein a significant new release has come across my desk and I duly report in after a bunch of listens. It's a two-CD set of Perle Solos & Duos (Bridge 9546A/B). On it we are introduced to some 16 works, a number with several movements, all focused around the simple presence of one or two instrumentalists and the Perle magic. He is a committed High Modernist and so the music has the full-fledged edgy harmonic-melodic underpinnings and asymmetrical and non-repetitive rhythmic thrusts one might expect to find in this style set. Yet too it sports a definite individuality if you give it the requisite time to become familiar with it all.
So in the course of the two-CD's unfolding we hear several solo piano works, several solo violin pieces, a work for solo clarinet, one for clarinet and piano, one for violin and piano, one for cello, two for cello and piano, for double bass, and two for bassoon. The works cover a wide range of time between 1943 and 2004. There is a kind of unified expressionist High Modernism at play throughout and perhaps the principal variable is the idiomatic writing for each instrument.
The instrumentalists are all well prepared and well endowed with technical prowess so that each piece gets a concentrated focus and comes off well without exception. Richard Goode is on piano for one of the works, so that gives you some idea of the high caliber of all involved.
The seriousness of intent and the comprehensive instrumental possibilities make this a welcome addition for all those who appreciate George Perle or would like to explore his works and do not know a great deal of his music as yet. Either way this is a fine program. I recommend it strongly.
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