ROBERT HELPS (1928-2001): Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2, Quintet for Flute, Violin, Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Gossamer Noons for Soprano and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 02K092
Reference: TROY 1079
Description: Helps' two symphonies were written 45 years apart, but are recognisably from the same pen; his personal brand of freely dissonant, extended but always securely grounded tonality remains a constant throughout. Both the three-movement first and four-movement second have highly expressive, emotionally charged slow movements at their respective hearts - that of the second being explicitly related to Mahler (as acknowledged by the composer). The second is especially impressive, its opening movement a collage of allusions to earlier music (beginning with Bach), the finale a rather sinister episode, full of Busonian ambiguity and incorporating the Dies irae (as does the first movement). Gossamer Noons sets the evocative poetry of James Purdy amid orchestration of great inventiveness and color, while the 1975 Quintet is an intricate tapestry of changing texture and constantly changing, astringent harmony. Texts included. Joanna Curtis (soprano), University of South Florida Symphony Orchestra; William W. Wiedrich, Teresa Ancaya (piano - quintet).