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John Whitmore
MusicWeb International, March 2015

The music makes a very strong impression and there is a high level of invention, emotional pull and craftsmanship to be heard. This isn’t difficult avant-garde music and there’s nothing on the disc that can’t be appreciated and enjoyed on first hearing.

…the sound is dynamic and thrilling. The playing is faultless and brilliant. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Laurence Vittes
Gramophone, December 2014

The playing is superlative throughout and the recordings are of audiophile quality. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Bob Neill
Positive Feedback Online, November 2014

The overall impression of Brower that we get here is of a fresh, inventive, occasionally lyric composer who deserves a wider audience. © 2014 Positive Feedback Online Read complete review




Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle, August 2014

The title of this arresting new disc…is an elegant double entendre. It refers both to the crisp, crystalline instrumental textures she (Brouwer) favors and to the vein of emotional intensity that courses through the music…What’s most striking about these pieces…is how deftly Brouwer blends these two strains. The music switches from a cool neo-Classical demeanor, all buoyant rhythms and sleek textures, to howls of Expressionist anguish—and then back again without a hitch. The emotional vividness of the result is remarkable, and the performances by the Blue Streak Ensemble and the Maia String Quartet with clarinetist Daniel Silver only underscore Brouwer’s versatility. The disc winds up with “Lonely Lake,” a gorgeous and carefree summer camp pastoral full of birdsong and the evocation of landscape © 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Read complete review



Robert Cummings
Classical Net, July 2014

Shattered Glass…is a colorful, percussion effects-laden work with a playful yet menacing character…the work is much fun and the performance by the Blue Streak Ensemble is very good.

…the Clarinet Quintet…is much more serious and comes from a quite different sonic world. An interesting work…and a fine performance from clarinetist Daniel Silver and the Maia String Quartet.

Whom do you call an Angel?…is the most lyrical work on the disc…The song is lovely…Soprano Sandra Simon turns in a splendid performance and gets spirited accompaniment from violist Laura Shuster and pianist Alicja Basinska…

Lonely Lake…depicts scenes and feelings associated with Lonely Lake in Canada…the Blue Streak Ensemble perform admirably.

Arrangements for Blue Streak Ensemble consists of two parts: an arrangement of Debussy’s Clair de Lune and of JS Bach’s Two Part Invention in F Major, BWV 779. The performance is fine and makes a good finale to this splendid disc. The sound reproduction is excellent in all works. If you’re interested in contemporary music that is fairly accessible, this new Naxos CD of Margaret Brouwer works should prove of interest. Chamber music mavens of an adventurous bent will especially find it to their liking. © 2014 Classical Net Read complete review



Second Inversion, June 2014

Reflecting the tone of the world in the 2000s as seen through the eyes of a globally-conscious American, this disc is complete with the sounds of shock, disillusionment, sadness, uncertainty, introspection, realignment, and self-healing that were experienced by so many in recent years. In addition to the adroit performances found here, the liner notes lend additional emotional traction to this intense music.

Musically, the contemporary instrumental works on this release tend toward an effective fusion of traditional and extended techniques. Unlike many such attempts, the music heard here blends the two without the extended materials becoming gimmicky or distracting. In fact, the nuanced and appropriate inclusion of these elements enhances the music, achieving in an arena where musical success is often elusive. © 2014 Second Inversion Read complete review




Steven A. Kennedy
Cinemusical, June 2014

The pieces seem to provide a good variety of Brouwer’s style and may encourage many to discover her other recorded work. Certainly, she is a musical voice that is well worth discovering and this is another example of what makes Naxos’ musical commitments so significant in recorded art music. © 2014 Cinemusical Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2014

One of America’s most highly regarded avant-garde composers, this new release contains five chamber works written by Margaret Brouwer in a fertile 21st century. Essentially working in a balanced mix of tonality and atonality, the musical picture she is painting demands the rhythmic flexibility that colours the varying moods of the Clarinet Quintet as she sees the world going from bad to worse. Very different is Shattered Glass, its ever changing mosaic fragments and comes together in unusual sonorities created by the ensemble of flute, cello, percussion and piano. Whom do you call angel now is a setting of words by David Adams that were generated by the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York. The disc ends with Brouwer’s arrangement of Debussy’s Clair de Lune and a gorgeous version of a Two Part Invention by Bach, made for the Blue Streak Ensemble…As we pass through the disc we have the many differing ‘faces’ of Brouwer, the performances having that benchmark status of her presence as the producer of the recording sessions. © 2014 David’s Review Corner



Ettore Garzia
Percorsi Musicali, May 2014

…the idea of ​​Brouwer was to kill any discussion about the style; the importance attributed to the type of writing was overwhelmed by the concept of “development” of the compositional themes. In this aspect Brouwer has great ability: with a clear specialization in chamber music, she is able to jump easily in the mazes of the romantic, baroque or modern inspiration, to build “sliding” structures that enhance the historical role of music; she is not afraid to put even serialized parts, and often leaves a wonderful memory for the use of melodies or for the creation of musical contrasts…

…the latest collection of Naxos’ recent compositions no catches us by surprise: “Shattered glass” for flute, cello, piano and percussion, or the wonderful “Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet in A”, for clarinet and classic string quartet (where it is important to emphasize the movement II, My white tears broken into the seas), are the quintessence of her language… © 2014 Percorsi Musicali





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