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Marga Richter - 2013 - "Poetic Images Beyond Poetry"

(52:54, Parma / Ravello Records)


1.  Out of Shadows and Solitude 18:43
2.  Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark 4:46
3.  Spectral Chimes / Enshrouded Hills 29:25


Seattle Symphony Orchestra (1)
Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra (2, 3)

Prolusion. US composer Marga RICHTER have been a prominent composer in the US from the 50's and onwards. She has received annual grants from ASCAP from 1966 and onwards, co-founded the Long Island Composers Alliance, has composed works for orchestra, ballet, opera, chorus, orchestra, chamber ensemble and solo instrument and has seen her compositions been performed nationally as well as internationally. "Poetic Images Beyond Poetry: Selected Works for Orchestra" collects three of her symphonies recorded in 1995 and 1996, and was released by Ravello Records in 2013.

Analysis. As a reviewer I'll readily admit that classical music isn't one of my strong points. While I do enjoy the occasional foray into this field of music from time to time, my knowledge about this type of music leaves a lot to be desired and I don't have the genre vocabulary to express my impressions as a listener in a manner that will be familiar to aficionados of this kind of music – to the extent that I'm challenged for words when trying to describe my impressions of this production per se. As such the task of describing the contents of this production is a somewhat daunting affair for yours truly. I'll start off right away by saying that this collection of compositions impressed me. Classical music in general is a bit of a hot and cold territory for me, but this particular specimen captivated me from the opening notes until the very end. Three compositions subtly different in nature but all of them with a similar expression, managing to make a strong emotional impression. The free flowing nature of the compositions are remarkable to my ears. Richter's employment of ebb and flow constellations amazed me throughout. Frail, emotional interludes in between massive, dramatic eruptions on opening composition Out of Shadows and Solitude, developing towards a subtly different approach with an ebb and flow in intensity from frail expressions to majestic, grandiose constructions for the latter part of this piece, the dramatic eruptions fewer and further between as this creation shifts from a dark, brooding overall expression towards a lighter toned, haunting one. Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark continues in a subtly different manner, with dramatic eruptions and majestic build-ups now combined with playful instrument movements, flavoring the often haunting movements with a fun-filled and humorous atmosphere within a context that utilizes fluctuating levels of intensity and dramatic peaks to good effect. Spectral Chimes / Enshrouded Hills combines the features from the preceding compositions quite nicely, initially with a darker over mood that also includes a recurring interlude with instrument movements dark enough in nature to just about merit a description as evil: brooding, menacing sequences starkly contrasting the surrounding ones. In what I suspect is a transition to the track’s second part Enshrouded Hills; the composition alters nicely and effectively in nature towards elegant, organically flowing movements focusing more on fluctuating levels of intensity with majestic build-ups rather than dramatic eruptions as key elements, ebbing out on a frail, dark note utilizing haunting light toned counterpoints to maintain tension for the final few minutes before the composition ends on a dying note rather than the dramatic eruption expected.

Conclusion. As a novice to th world of classical music I suspect that I'm rather more easily impressed with material of this nature than those who are more keenly familiar with this type of music. But as far as the opinions of a novice has any merit, I'd describe this collection of compositions as one highly recommended to those fond of classical symphonic music that are fond of distinct harmonies, elegant use of counterpoints, naturally fluctuating levels of intensity and alternating between dramatic peaks and majestic build ups as core effects.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: June 20, 2013
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Ravello Records
Marga Richter


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