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The otherworldly sounds of George Crumb’s ‘Nocturnal Theme’ from from Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik (whose theme is actually Thelonius Monk’s Round Midnight) sets us off on this intriguing journey through America’s take on things nocturnal in the capable hands of Cecille Licad. Amy Beach’s A Hermit Thrush at Eve is simply beautiful, as is Griffes’ Notturno, their lushness emphasised via proximity to Crumb’s language. There is charm here (Gottschalk La chute des feuilles) as well as Lisztian fireworks (Daniel Mason’s Night Wind), Impressionism (Griffes’ Night Winds) and even comedy (Crumb’s scherzo, ‘Cobweb and Peaseblossom’). Copland’s astonishing tribute to Ives, Night Thoughts, is a wonderful inclusion, beautifully evocative here, as is the curious, habanera-based Nocturne by Chadwick.

Nice to see some Hamelin (his tracery-drenched Little Nocturne) and Native American music in Farwell’s Dawn. The piano sound itself could have been accorded a little more body: a shame. Nevertheless, superb booklet notes crown a most stimulating release.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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