TIMOTHY BAXTER: Vol. 1- Various short compositions – Soloists – Claudio Records (Blu-ray & DVD-A)

TIMOTHY BAXTER: Vol. 1- Various short compositions (TrackList follows) – Soloists: Ulrich Stærk, Anne Mette Stæhr, Galya Kolarova, Demetrios Karamintzas, Signe Asmussen, Anthony Ovenell, Paul Gregory – Claudio Records CC6025-2 Blu-ray (audio only) & DVD Audio (stereo) single disc TT: 65:48 (6/9/15) [Distr. by Naxos] ***1/2:

A fine survey of Timothy Baxter’s instrumental music on an oddly-formatted disc.

Timothy Baxter (b.1935) had his debut as a composer at 15 with a short motet O most merciful, which is still being sung. This early work showed all the hallmarks of his later compositional style and also the religious feelings so evident in his later choir music. He won first prize for a string quintet movement as a first-year student at the Royal Academy of Music, London, while studying with Priaulx Rainier. This success was followed by a number of other prizes and performances. He has written much church music: liturgical arrangements, pieces for choir, organ works and cantatas. Although born in the U.K, Baxter now lives in Denmark.

This disc contains only instrumental music, but it is a nice representation of Baxter’s work. It has a British ‘feel’ to it, and while it is contemporary music, it could be many decades old and be easily identified with an older period. Some of the music is religious in nature, other works are pieces for children.
I enjoyed all the music on this disc, but particularly liked Baxter’s Little Suite for Flute and Guitar. Written in 1991, it’s joyful and bucolic.

This is a bit of an odd disc from an audio standpoint. It’s listed as as a Blu-ray/DVD Audio disc. My Oppo universal player could only see the DVD Audio format, and there was no title information on screen, just a Blu-ray logo generated by the Oppo. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Blu-ray DVD Audio disc in tandem, and I wonder if the Oppo had difficulty with a disc manufactured in this way. All the music is in stereo, encoded at 192/24.

The DVD Audio portion sounded just fine, with natural miking and nice separation. Nothing spectacular in terms of audio, really a small ensemble nicely recorded. The audio is stereo only, not surround.

Baxter has been writing for many years, but his music is worthy of attention. Claudio Records obviously agrees, since this is volume 1 of what I suspect will be a series. I’m hoping to hear some of Baxter’s choral music.

TrackList:

Oboe Triptych
1] Andante 4:01
2] Andante 3:06
3] Allegro 2:43
4] Oboe in The Shade(2:05
5] Sweet Day 4:56
6] Vuggevise

Little Suite for Flute & Guitar
7] Prelude/Aubabe 2:34
8] Valse Solitaire 3:25 
9] Greek Delight 1:42
10] Lament/Adagio 3:50
11] Finale 3:29

The Nativity
12] The Angle Visits Mary 1:16
13] Mary Goes to See her Cousin, Elizebeth 2:38
14] The Birth of Jesus 3:33
15] The Three Wise Men from the East 1:58
16] The shepherds & the Angels 2:18

17] Alla Cubana 3:50
Six Bagatelles for Two pianos Tracks 18-23


—Mel Martin

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