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Colin Clarke
Fanfare, September 2020

Abel’s ability to set up a momentum and to then veer off-piste is genuinely interesting and appealing. It is hard to imagine two finer musicians than Shifrin and Rosenberger. Shifrin has it all, the nimble agility, the nuance of cantabile line; Rosenberger is the perfect partner, ever subtle, her tone delicious.

The mode of utterance grows ever more profound with the settings of the poetry of Marina Tsvetaeva, in fine translations by Alyssa Dinega Gillespie. The interactions between Hila Plitmann’s soprano voice and Los Angeles English hornist Sarah Beck are beautiful in the first song, “The Sibyl,” which ends on a most satisfying jazz chord.

Throughout, the recording is everything one has come to expect from Delos: warm, clear, and inviting, with the perspective and closeness expertly judged. © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review



Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, September 2020

The Clarinet Trio (clarinet, cello, and piano) is in three movements (“The Unfolding,” “Taking Flight,” and “In Good Time”), and was inspired, at least partly, by Abel’s childhood recollections of hearing Brahms’s trio for this same combination of instruments. Again, in the first movement there is the idea that the three instruments have human personalities, including human impatience. The music—all of Abel’s music that I have heard—seems driven more by impulses and intuition than by academic concerns for form and development. … Cellist Fred Sherry, now in his 70s, nevertheless adds his own youthful suppleness to the contributions of Shifrin and Rosenberger. © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review



Huntley Dent
Fanfare, September 2020

Listening to these four chamber works by the noted California composer Mark Abel, I enjoyed unraveling his elusive imagination.

…This release is the latest installment in Abel’s ongoing musical and autobiographical journal. It is a thoroughly rewarding listen that also manages to be moving and thought-provoking, too. © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review



Tiina Kiik
The WholeNote, August 2020

Abel is renowned for his vocal works. His exciting song cycle Four Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva features four Russian poems translated to English for the first time by Alyssa Dinega Gilliespie. Soprano Hila Plitmann sings with dramatic clarity, musicality, tuning and high pitches. Carol Rosenberger (piano) and Sarah Beck (English horn) support with technical/musical control as the words and music are one.

Abel is a compositional master of intriguing contemporary music. © 2020 The WholeNote Read complete review



Donald Rosenberg
Gramophone, August 2020

Tsvetaeva’s verses make their debut in English in the Abel settings, authoritatively performed here by the soprano Hila Plitmann. The songs take full advantage of Plitmann’s ‘wondrous voice’, which gleams in all registers, especially when she picks out notes in the stratosphere. Her attention to meaning suffuses every phrase and she is quick to add dramatic intensity when required, as in the emphatic ‘no’ that ends ‘O sorrow floods my eyes!’. Sarah Beck’s warm English horn and Carol Rosenberger’s glistening pianism are ideal partners.

Rosenberger is also a dynamic colleague in two pieces with the clarinettist David Shifrin. Intuition’s Dance takes the instruments through a series of conversations ranging from playful to conflicting, with the dance element portrayed in buoyant episodes. The musicians are joined by the cellist Fred Sherry in the Clarinet Trio, three movements of poetic, engaging and philosophical material that these superb players afford colourful and lyrical delineation. © 2020 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Scott MacClelland
Performing Arts Monterey Bay, June 2020

The Dream Gallery, a 69-minute song cycle for seven soloists and chamber orchestra depicting the lives of imaginary archetypal Californians, caught the interest of pianist Carol Rosenberger, director of the Delos Productions label, leading to its recording by the La Brea Sinfonietta. This is Mark’s fifth release on Delos and is devoted to chamber, including Four Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva with soprano Hila Plitmann, the first of which provides the album with its title. © 2020 Performing Arts Monterey Bay Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, May 2020

What impresses consistently on this program is the beautiful melodic-harmonic poise of it all. One is reminded somewhat of a present-day Bartok in that the music creates an unforced and refreshing stream of inventive form-in-motion like the great Bela’s music did so consistently.

This is rather brilliant written music that is well played. It will appeal to anyone who loves the intimate, “serious” sort of chamber music that speaks directly to the connoisseur of such things. An excellent program. Bravo! © 2020 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review




Uwe Krusch
Pizzicato, May 2020

Clarinettist David Shifrin and soprano Hila Plitmann may be the best known artists on this recording. With Shifrin’s sensitive approach and Plitmann’s distinctive voice, they set the cornerstones for the recordings. But also Sabrina-Vivian Höpcker on the violin knows how to appealingly play The Elastic Hours. The pianists Carol Rosenberger and Dominic Cheli add their talent on the keyboard. © 2020 Pizzicato Read complete review





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