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Cat. No. CHAN 10162 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10162 - Beach: Quartet for Strings/ Sonata for Violin and Piano/Pastorale/Dreaming
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Amy Beach was a major composer of her generation and a pioneer among women. She was composing at a time when women made music at home, not in public. That her music, with its finely crafted melodies and unique harmonies, was performed at all in those unenlightened times, is evidence of its unshakeable quality.

Two of the compositions here come from Beach’s years in Boston before the First World War, when the values of the late nineteenth century seemed permanent and unshakeable. Her Sonata in A minor for piano and violin (1896) is a four movement work written in her most passionate mood, displaying her lyrical gift and her love for rich chromatic harmony.

Beach’s String Quartet in One Movement (1929) is one of her most original and forward-looking works. A determining feature of the work is the use as themes of three songs of the Alaskan Inuit. Beach sets them in a contrapuntal texture saturated with motives derived from the tunes, thus enhancing, rather than obscuring, their starkness and angularity.

Pastorale was begun in 1921 then set aside until 1941. It is the only work Beach wrote for woodwind quintet. Written in A-B-A form, it is a stylistically integrated work that evokes the peace of a summer afternoon in the woods of New Hampshire.

Dreaming was published in 1892 as the third of four sketches for piano. Thirty-five years later Beach arranged the work as a cello solo, placing the cello line between the left and right hand parts of the accompaniment. A veritable song without words, the melody line, with its long lyrical arcs, could not be better suited to the instrument.
Reviews

Recorded sound is warm and vibrant and the disc is thoroughly recommended for the groups perceptive and idiomatic approach to this delicate, enchanting music.
The Strad

'Amy Beach's music inhabits conservative rather than progressive ground, a universe or two removed from American contemporaries like Ives. Nevertheless it is fine work, and it's good to welcome this excellent disc containing two major chamber compositions together with a pair of shorter, charming minor pieces.'
International Record Review

The playing of the chamber group founded by Diana Ambache is both beautiful and distinguished.
Manchester Evening News

Amy Beachs music inhabits conservative rather than progressive ground, a universe or two removed from American contemporaries like Ives. Nevertheless it is fine work, and its good to welcome this excellent disc containing two major chamber compositions together with a pair of shorter, charming minor pieces.
International Record Review

'The playing of the chamber group founded by Diana Ambache is both beautiful and distinguished.'
Manchester Evening News

'Recorded sound is warm and vibrant and the disc is thoroughly recommended for the group's perceptive and idiomatic approach to this delicate, enchanting music.'
The Strad

'Ambache is a flexible ensemble, expanding to the task in hand. All these performances are nicely accomplished and well engineered.'
Hi-Fi-News

 

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