Crumb: Vox Balaenae / Robert Aitken, New Music Concerts

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This fine collection offers impressive performances that reveal George Crumb's broad expressive range within his own personal idiom. Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale) and Eleven Echoes of Autumn are the two biggest pieces, the former curiously "Eastern" in its opening flute arabesques, and at times playful, the latter darker and more harmonically challenging, but no less evocative. Federico's Little Songs for Children (1986) continues the composer's involvement with the magical poetry of Lorca. It's wonderfully scored for flutes and harp, and beautifully sung by Teri Dunn, who manages to make all of the noises Crumb demands with an aptly seductive timbre. An Idyll for the Misbegotten, for amplified flute and percussion, is the shortest piece, but it packs a lot of brooding atmosphere into its scant 10 minutes.

The performances are all very good indeed. Robert Aitken directs and takes the flute parts in all four works, and his timbre acts as the program's unifying thread. All of this music has been recorded before, either by Bridge in its complete edition, or elsewhere on individual releases (you can find An Idyll and Vox Balaenae on a celebrated New World release containing Jan DeGaetani's performance of the four books of Madrigals), but you can certainly purchase this economical, well-engineered disc with complete confidence if the couplings suit your fancy.
--David Hurwitz,

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 8559205

  • UPC: 636943920527

  • Label: Naxos

  • Composer: George Crumb

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: New Music Concerts Ensemble

  • Performer: David Heatherington, David Swan, Erica Goodman, Fujiko Imajishi, Joaquin Valdepeñas, Richard Sacks, Robert Aitken, Ryan Scott, Teri Dunn, Trevor Tureski