*Contemporary Piece.* Atmospheric and impressionistic little work.
_Score 5 pp._
OMP162 Pete Peters Pisces
OMP186 Robyn Ellis Shemozzle
OMP184 Rupert Kirby Eleanor
OMP170 Tim Knight Progress Suite
OMP191 Rupert Kirby For Kimberley and Sally
These compositions for recorder and piano are welcome additions to the contemporary repertory for intermediate players. They combine modern, but not very dissonant, tonalities with traditional rhythms. Melodically appealing and fun to play, they are good choices for student recitals and other performances that do not require virtuosity from either recorderist or pianist.
Rupert Kirby dedicates his pieces to individuals: Eleanor on her 10th birthday, Sally on her 70th birthday, and Kimberley. No further information is given, and there is no biography of the composer. Eleanor's song is appropriate for a child player, with a tuneful melody and a straightforward G tonality. It won the Orpheus Music Composition Competition in 2007.
Sally's piece demands considerably more skill, with a number of accidentals and more difficult fingerings.
For Kimberley is similar to Eleanor's song, but contains more challenging syncopations and accidentals. Kirby gives no tempo indicators, so we had to guess. We played them at a fairly fast pace, and pianist Marcia Ofri added some ornamentation, which gave them a little more "punch."
Pisces was my personal favorite of the group. Pete Peters includes a note that tells us to imagine fish in a bowl, swimming calmly and getting only mildly excited at feeding time. I don't know about the bowl metaphor, as the piece is Impressionistic in character and conjures up an image of fish swimming freely in the sea - to me, at least.
The piano part in Pisces is composed primarily of scale-like passages that utilize the piano pedal, thus sustaining the Impressionist feel. The tempo is quick, and the 8/8 meter comes in handy for counting the 32nd notes. The recorder part is fairly challenging, but accessible to an intermediate player who is willing to practice and who has good high notes.
Progress Suite by Tim Knight "progresses" from an easy Adagio that is not too interesting through an Allegro moderato to Lento tranquillo and back to the Allegro. The piece fits on alto recorder or sopranino, though it is scored for soprano. The recorder sounds high Bb numerous times, and the final pitches are D above the staff and high G (fourth ledger line above the staff). It is low on the alto, but the sopranino sounds thin. We recommend using alto with the pianist playing very softly.
This composition involves a number of meter changes, as well as a mix of triplets and duple rhythms. There are a lot of accidentals, and some of the fingerings are very tricky.
Despite the name Shemozzle, Robyn Ellis's piece has a definite classical or intellectual feel. It is geared for an advanced intermediate recorder player, with a lot of high notes, tricky rhythms and ornamentation. The interplay with the piano is closer to a duet than a solo with accompaniment.
The layout of these pieces is clear and user-friendly. Notes about or by the composers are included only for Ellis and Peters. A guide to level of difficulty is given on the back pages by publisher numbers, but they are not complete; levels are not marked on the pieces.
The publisher's address is found on the back cover, but the web site necessary for ordering is not. Orpheus currently has no U.S. distributor, so you will need to refer to the web site listed at the start of this review. Three of these pieces can be purchased as PDF downloads at a reduced price. I recommend these pieces, as they are accessible and melodically/tonally appealing contemporary works.
Beverly Lomer, American Recorder, Summer 2013