Chamber Orchestra & Ensemble Repertoire: A Catalog of Modern Music

Article excerpt

Chamber Orchestra & Ensemble Repertoire: A Catalog of Modern Music. By Dirk Meyer. (Music Finders.) Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2011. [xiv, 427 p. ISBN 9780810877313. $75.] Appendix.

Dirk Meyer's book Chamber Orchestra & Ensemble Repertoire: A Catalog of Modern Music will prove to be an invaluable resource for conductors, librarians of chamber orchestras and anyone interested in learning about possible repertoire for the chamber orchestra. In the preface, the author justifies the need for this book, which is a listing of chamber orchestra music written since 1900, by citing that there is no comprehensive text that covers the music and time period of chamber orchestra literature in this manner. Meyer refers to the format used in David Daniels's Orchestral Music: A Handbook (4th ed. [Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2005]) as being the benchmark for how this text is organized. The author then defines the criteria by which works were considered for inclusion in the book and explains how the pieces are coded to indicate instrumentation, again based on Daniels's text. Next, the author includes a listing of all abbreviations that are used throughout the book for reference.

The next section lists all of the works in alphabetical order by composer. Each entry includes the composer's name and dates, followed by the title, instrumentation, timing, and publisher of the work. This information is invaluable to anyone interested in programming works for chamber orchestra, as it allows all of the relevant information to be at the disposal of the conductor or librarian.

This is followed by an extensive appendix that cross-lists the repertoire from the previous section by performing forces: works including solo voices (pp. 229-33), works including solo instruments (pp. 234-43), works for string orchestra (pp. 244-47), works for string orchestra with percussion and/or harp and/or piano (p. 248), works for ensemble with a maximum string count of [1.1.1.1.1] (pp. 250-60), works for ensemble with a maximum string count of [2.2.2.2.2] (pp. 261-63), works for chamber orchestra with listings by instrumentation (pp. 265-88), compositions that use no percussion (pp. 290-98), compositions that use no harp or piano (pp. 299-312), compositions that use saxophone(s) (pp. 313-14), and compositions that use electronics (tape, CD, live electronics) (p. 315). Needless to say, there is considerable and welcome overlap between the sections. …