RUEHR Chamber Music
Increasingly well represented on disc, Boston-based Elena Ruehr (b1963) has maintained a steady chamber output – of which this selection of works from across 16 years (interestingly heard in reverse order) makes a positive case for her accessible yet never merely academic or reactionary idiom. Agilely combining trenchant virtuosity with keen lyricism, Lift (2013) is a telling study in cumulative momentum, while the Second Violin Sonata (2012) offers a pertinent take on the fast-slow-fast trajectory with its discreet jazz inflections – not least the finale’s Oscar Peterson homage. Klein Suite (2011) takes its cue from Bach’s unaccompanied violin music over its eloquent then energetic movements, whereas Prelude Variations (2008) draws on two preludes and fugues from the ‘48’ in a purposeful workout for viola and cello. In between comes Adrienne and Amy (2009), a ‘sonatina’ paying homage to composer Amy Beach and her biographer Adrienne Block in what is the deftest and most appealing piece on this disc. The Scarlatti Effect (1997) rounds off proceedings with its lively and resourceful take on the Baroque composer’s keyboard sonatas, as subtly integrated into a tensile single movement whose elements of ritornello ensure a steady focus through to the incisive close.
Thus is music written, above all, for the pleasure of the performers – and the four featured here duly ensure that the performances are never less than pleasurable. The recording leaves little to be desired in its clarity and perspective, and this disc can be warmly recommended to musicians searching for some worthwhile new repertoire.