A special eight-page section focusing on recent recordings from the US and Canada

T Harris Rosemoor Suitea. Aulos Triptychb. Concertino for Horn and Chamber Orchestrac. Flowersd. Sonata for Two Bassoons and Pianoe. Concertino for Flute and Chamber Orchestraf abf Alice Kogan Weinreb, bAaron Goldman, bCarole Bean, bLeah Arsenault Barrick ls adNicholas Stovall ob adPaul Cigan cl adTruman Harris, eSue Heineman, eSteven Wilson bns acdLaurel Bennert Ohlson hn beAudrey Andrist pf cfEclipse Chamber Orchestra / Sylvia Alimena Naxos American Classics B 8 559858 (76’ • DDD)

Naxos’s American Classics series turns to Truman Harris (b1945), his tenures

as bassoonist in Washington’s National Symphony and Eclipse Chamber orchestras explaining why woodwind features prominently across his output – with the present disc a representative selection.

His fluency is well demonstrated in both the vignettes of Aulos Triptych and the laconicism of the Double Bassoon Sonata, both of which should appeal to musicians who find themselves participating in such unusual combinations. Of the works for wind quintet, Rosemoor Suite offers five evocations of neighbourhood environs, by turns winsome and engaging, not least in the pithy theme-and-variations of ‘Fantasia’ or the lively imagery conjured up by ‘Silent Movie’. If these inhabit the urbane neoclassicism of Françaix, the six briefer miniatures of Flowers seem closer to Poulenc in their graceful contours enlivened by harmonic piquancy. More substantial fare is provided by the two concertinos. That for horn follows its muscular opening Allegro with an ‘Arias and Recitatives’ whose incremental revealing of unexpected depths is thrown into relief by the droll closing Rondo. The Concertino for flute follows a similar trajectory – its wistful Andante as deftly complemented by the elegant opening Allegro as by the perky closing Allegretto with its affectionate homage to the French woodwind tradition.

talks to ... David Shuler The conductor of The Choir of St Luke in the Fields in New York talks about recording Palestrina

What draws you to Palestrina’s music? Late-Renaissance polyphony forms the core of our repertoire, both for concerts and church services. The music of Palestrina, of course, looms large in this canon. In addition to the sheer beauty of his music, I particularly appreciate his many and varied approaches to motet and Mass compositions. He is unquestionably a master of counterpoint.

Why did you chose the Missa Tu es Petrus? We performed the Missa Tu es Petrus a couple of years ago, and it immediately became a favourite. There is no mistaking that this is mature Palestrina: it is one of his inest and most ingenious parody Masses, and one of his most luminous compositions. Also, this Mass setting has not been recorded often, unlike, say, the Missa Papae Marcelli.

You achieve a gorgeous choral blend – does regularly singing together help? Thank you. First, I have to say that it is a great privilege to count as members of the choir

some of the inest choral singers in New York City. The choir does rehearse and perform together on a weekly basis, in church services and concerts, which makes a huge difference, and allows for a uni ied stylistic approach and an opportunity to hone the sound blend.

Why did you make this recording away from your usual home at St Luke’s? The acoustic at St Luke in the Fields is perfect for performing early music. There is a lovely bloom to the sound. But unfortunately outside noise can be intrusive, making recording almost impossible. The acoustic at the Church of St Mary the Virgin is quite different – a much more spacious and reverberant space. In fact, St Mary’s has just about the ideal acoustic for recording Renaissance choral music.

The concerttinos receive admirable performances by Laurel Bennert Ohlson and Alice Kogan Weinreb, while all the other players confirm the respect and regard in which Harris is held. Indeed, the appeal of this music to wind musicians everywhere can hardly be doubted. Richard Whitehouse

Liang A Thousand Mountains, a Million Streams. Five Seasonsa. Xiaoxiangb b Gao Hong pipa aChien-Kwan Lin alto sax Boston Modern Orchestra Project / Gil Rose BMOP/sound F Í 1061 (57’ • DDD/DSD)

Lei Liang (b1972) was born in China then in the grip of the Cultural

Revolution, but left to study in the US and has remained there ever since, taking citizenship in 2006. The alto saxophone concerto Xiaoxiang was composed shortly afterwards (2009, though based on an earlier piece for saxophone and electronics); it is given here in its 2014 revision. A concentrated (ten-and-a-half minute) concerto-cum-tone poem,