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January 26, 2012

Reviews of Our New Naxos CD

The pit-band that accompanies the three scores is a jazz quintet, and they’re terrific.

SAYLOR: Hunting of the Snark; Publicity Pays; CARLUZZO: Stolen Goods; SIMPSON: Too Many Mammas: The Record Connoisseur’s Magazine
Greenfield, Philip. American Record Guide 75. 1 (Jan/Feb 2012): 155-156.

SAYLOR: Hunting of the Snark; Publicity Pays;
CARLUZZO: Stolen Goods;
SIMPSON: Too Many Mammas
Cantate Chamber Singers; Holton-Arms Lower School Chorus; Snark Ensemble & Pit-Band/ Gisele Becker – Naxos 572685 – 74 minutes

A walk on the lighter side. Maurice Saylor (b 1957) is a composer and reed man based in Washington, DC. His Hunting of the Snark is a clever and feisty setting of Lewis Carroll’s 1874 poem of the same name. It is subtitled ‘An Agony in Eight Fits’, and Saylor crafted it for chamber and children’s choirs plus a crazy assortment of woodwinds, drums, piano, accordion, bass accordion, and amplified violin. There are 17 instruments altogether. He decided to avoid soloists in favor of letting his choirs do the narrating, and the decision was a good one. The choral writing is witty and, I should think, a lot of fun to sing. The choirs are OK, but they’re overshadowed by the “snarkestra”, which plays up a storm.

The other three works were written to accompany silent films, each lasting around 9 minutes. The best is Andrew Earle Simpson’s Too Many Mammas written in a hotsy-totsy jazz style to set the scene in a speakeasy where philandering is on tap along with the booze. The pit-band that accompanies the three scores is a jazz quintet, and they’re terrific. Breezy documentation from Naxos adds to the fun.

GREENFIELD
Copyright Record Guide Publications Jan/Feb 2012

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