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Chiaroscuro: Chamber Music of Richard Lavenda (b.1955) / John Owings, piano; Misha Galaganov, viola; Benjamin Kamins, bassoon et al.

Notes & Reviews:

Chiaroscuro, Chamber Music by Richard Lavenda is a bright and engaging new album of some of the composer's favorite chamber works - all written for personal friends. The title track refers to the visual art technique of a strong contrast between dark and light, and this motif aptly describes the listening experience. The album features a duet for viola and piano, a solo piece for tenor saxophone, a trio for clarinet, viola, and piano, and a string quintet. This is Lavenda's first album on Ravello Records.

American Record Guide, March/April 2014
In the visual arts, "chiaroscuro" refers to the use of bright and dark colors to create stark contrasts. Contrast in music can be achieved a number of ways - dynamics, harmony, timbre. All of the pieces were written for friends of the composer, so everything sounds very idiomatic and fully appreciative of the timbres available to the instruments. The emotive content is mostly darker, with a tendency toward the frantic and frenetic. The last piece, a string quintet called thoughts fly, is the exception.


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