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Alla Breve

January 31, 1988|GREGG WAGER

DOUGLAS ALLANBROOK: "TWELVE PRELUDES FOR ALL SEASONS"; EDWIN DUGGER: "IN OPERA'S SHADOW." CRI SD 541.SD 541. Allanbrook describes his piano music as being influenced by the preludes of Chopin and Debussy, but "Twelve Preludes for All Seasons"(1970) contains neither the variety of Chopin's nor the innovation of Debussy's. Instead, these miniatures for solo piano, which all sound similar to each other, meander along in a mildly atonal language and emphasize simple melodic and contrapuntal structures. Allanbrook performs and brings out the transcendental nature of the music, but rarely allows it to escape its own routine. On the flip-side, Dugger's "In Opera's Shadow"(1983) for chamber orchestra and electronics, is divided into five sections which attempt to capture the spirit of the various small forms within an opera, but the music--along with the performance by the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players--is academic, dry and devoid of operatic character.

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