Gerald Barry’s existing Beethoven pieces whet the appetite for the Beethoven opera he has talked about. Beethoven, setting the letter to the Immortal Beloved opens with a Stravinskian strut.
Schott & Sons, Mainz, casts letters to his publisher in a sometimes mundane, sometimes surreal light.The non-Beethoven choral pieces Oh Lord, how vain, The Coming of Winter, and Long Time, are every bit as engagingly idiosyncratic, and the vocal and choral writing (with whistling) is typically fantastical.
The string quartet First Sorrow journeys from the world of viol consorts (a private passion of the composer’s), through intense vibrato, to an otherworldly hymn, sung as well as played. Strong performances.