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With this recent (2003) CD we are invited to put aside thoughts of immense output, and for sixty-four minutes concentrate on seven pieces, the longest of which, Plainsong Variations (1999) for solo cello at about eleven minutes, is a resonantly recorded, occasionally gymnastic performance by Craig Hultgren of a predominantly quiet and rather aimless ramble. On the strength of this I would dare to suggest his technique needs tightening and focussing.

Sonata for Brass (1999) is shorter and far better, consisting of a brief Fanfare [listen -- track 6, 0:36-1:23] and a Dance enclosing a very pleasing Arioso, all beautifully played by the Chicago Brass Choir. The conductor Kirk Trevor is the dedicatee of perhaps the best track of all, the second movement of Symphony of Light (2003) for strings, an ecstatic all American sound [listen -- track 14, 1:32-2:31], and it is Trevor who directs a strong performance of the title piece: Threads: Concerto for Orchestra (2003), the second movement of which begins with a haunting cello solo (perhaps a tribute to Kirk Trevor who is also a cellist) and develops into the nocturnal atmosphere of which Cooman seems to be so fond and in control [listen -- track 2, 0.47-1.38].

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Copyright © 5 January 2005 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


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