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CD Review

Judith Lang Zaimont

Sorel 3
  • Symphony #4 "Pure, Cool (Water)" (2013)
  • In a current (The River) 13:07
  • as a solid (Ice) 5:48
  • falling drops (Rainshower) 4:42
  • still (The Tarn) 7:34
  • in waves and torrents (Ocean) 12:39
  • Piano Trio #1 "Russian Summer" (1989)
  • Nocturne 7:05
  • Romp 7:28
* Peter Winograd, violin
* Peter Wyrick, cello
* Joanne Polk, piano
Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra/Niels Muus
Recorded *1995 & 2015
Sorel Classics SCCD003 58:23
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Addressing the Trio first, the two contrasting movements of the Piano Trio make a satisfying whole. The Nocturne is especially lovely and the Romp speaks for itself. Rather than a pause between the parts, the Nocturne leads into the Romp and it quietly recurs at the end of the piece.

As for the Symphony #4, I wish that Zaimont had kept the titles of the work and its movements to herself. If she had I would have found sitting down to write a review much easier. The symphony is a big, strong work, making use of the full orchestra. The dynamics are varied and it includes flowing melody and emphatic rhythms. As it is, the titles, amplified with explanatory descriptions of each somehow insisted on my trying to fit them all together; I could not simply let that go, as I would recommend to those who acquire this disc – which is the work of quite a significant living composer, who, if I should ever find the energy to write another book would surely be represented in it.

So here goes. I have no problem with The River's music being characterized as a current, because its music flows. Ice is more problematic because, as a solid, as the description misleadingly notes, because solid ice is static and music cannot be totally static. I will say that if this music were to accompany a film showing, say, a frozen waterfall, the somewhat eerie quality at its beginning, might fit very well. Sounds like falling drops do occur in Rainshower, but again only at the outset. I have seen tarns only in the English Lake District; they are large ponds or small lakes, and they are still, but the pounding percussion which interrupts the quietness here a few times belies that description. Loud drumming is also heard in the Ocean section.

There is much to give pleasure in this symphony, so by all means listen to it. But do yourself a favor and listen to it before reading the titles!

Copyright © 2015, R. James Tobin