Both the Columbia Composers’ on December 10 and the Group for Contemporary Music concert on the 14th contained programs ambitious in quantity (eight or nine pieces in each concert) but modest in musical scope. Most of the compositions were attractive or at least competent, but few were tours de force. The main reason for this was the predominance of works for one or two instruments, certainly unpretentious formats.
Three exceptions to this limitation on the Columbia Composers’ concert were Bruce Hobson’s Quintet 1970, Paul Betjeman’s Six Pieces for Seven Instruments and Mary Chaffee’s Quintet. I have come to expect from Hobson great complexity and color, and the Quintet, an energetic work of pointillism scored for flute, horn, marimba, violin, and cello, did not let me down.– Peter Frank