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ALLA BREVE:

June 15, 1986|EMMON SCOTT

SEYMOUR SHIFRIN: "CHRONICLES" FOR CHORUS AND ORCHESTRA: THREE SONGS; FIVE SONGS FOR VOICE AND PIANO. UC Berkeley Chorus and Orchestra. Michael Senturia, conductor; Christine Whittlesey, soprano; Robert Levin, piano. CRI SD-504. These works pose a challenge. No shaft of sunlight penetrates their troubled, dissonant harmonies. No attractive tune relieves the severe atonal melodies which the voices must sing. Yet the works give every sign of having been carefully planned and crafted. They march forward with logic. They are frequently expressive: the music which precedes Shakespeare's words, "Like as waves make toward the pebbled shore," hints of lonely sand and sea. Soprano Whittlesey and pianist Levin perform with sensitivity and grace.

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