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LPs: ALLA BREVE

January 13, 1985|MARC SHULGOLD

PETER SCHICKELE: "BESTIARY" AND QUARTET (Vanguard VSD-71278). Schickele, better known as the musical satirist and creator of P.D.Q. Bach, here minds his compositional Ps, Ds and Qs in a pair of modest chamber works. Played by the early-music quartet Calliope (as it was in its local premiere at Caltech earlier this year), "Bestiary," sort of a Renaissance "Carnival of the Animals," mixes serious narration--provided by the composer--with often droll imitative musical episodes. The crucial visual element is gone--Schickele describes "Bestiary" as music-theater--but the charm of the score remains intact. The Quartet is brilliantly played by clarinetist David Shifrin, pianist David Oei, cellist Fred Sherry and violinist Eriko Sato. The easy-to-swallow music, decidedly tonal and relentlessly derivative, hops from French Impressionism to Bartokian folksiness to jazz-like unison passages.

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