November 30, 2023


Sir Morien: The Legend of a Knight of the Round Table. By Holly Black and Kaliis Smith. Illustrated by Ebony Glenn. Little, Brown. $18.99.

     The Arthurian legends are far more extensive and complex than the few with which most people are familiar – Lancelot, Guinevere, the Lady of the Lake, and a small number of others. And the tales, although often told in simplified form, were originally decidedly for adults, being filled not only with religious concerns (the Grail Quest being the central one) but also with some very adult behavior on the part of King Arthur’s various knights. The code of chivalry that is endemic to the stories is not necessarily in line with various later schools of thought – certainly not in the case of Sir Moriaen, whose tale dates to the 13th century and was written in Middle Dutch. The basic story involves one of Arthur’s less-known knights, Aglovale, who while searching for the missing Lancelot falls in love with a Moorish princess – getting her pregnant and betrothing her, but postponing marriage until he can honorably (under the code of chivalry) complete his quest. The racial element of Moriaen’s conception is key to the story, with his face, body and armor all described as equally black. Moriaen ends up on a quest for his father, is joined in the endeavor by Lancelot and Gawain, and eventually Aglovale is found – after which he returns to the Moorish lands to marry Moriaen’s mother and restore lands that have been taken from her.

     This does not quite work for very young readers and pre-readers, and anyone hoping to use the tale as the basis of a book for ages 4-8 needs to do more than simply re-tell it. So Holly Black and Kaliis Smith leave out all the adult elements that are important in the legend, modernize the knight’s name’s spelling to Morien, and create a super-simple and very appealing book in which Morien and his mother are said to have tamed a dragon, gone surfing on the Nile, and “vanquished every last vegetable on the dinner table.” Morien does go on a quest to find his absent father, but Black and Smith emphasize that Morien’s superb fighting abilities are not really the point of anything he does, even though “all the knights he met seemed to want to fight” and, when Morien did so, he “won every time.”

     In this children’s book, Morien does meet Lancelot and Gawain, there are not-very-serious fights among them with some not-very-serious bragging about who is better than whom, and then everyone becomes friends and the three set off on a decidedly upbeat quest – at the end of which they rescue both Aglovale and King Arthur, who have conveniently been imprisoned in the same castle dungeon. And the three, now fast friends and devoted companions, set off at the end of the book on new quests in which friendship will be as important as martial prowess.

     The book is a lot of fun in fairy-tale mode, with Ebony Glenn’s simple digital illustrations keeping the story firmly in the realm of a modern portrayal, for today’s children, of “olden times” in which people are shown to have been pretty much the same as they are now and to have had pretty much the same concerns, attitudes, likes and dislikes. For pre-readers and the youngest readers, this works quite well, and the inclusion of names that young children may encounter elsewhere – King Arthur, Lancelot, Gawain – provides a touch of familiarity for a story that is not at all well-known. Sir Morien: The Legend of a Knight of the Round Table is a pleasant picture book with a small smattering of action, an underlying message of racial tolerance (which is present in the original story as well), and a nicely done emphasis on the idea that friendship and family, rather than religion and chivalric notions, are foundational to the characters’ interrelationships. The Arthurian legends may be due for a re-exploration – the last well-known one, T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, dates to 1958, and the musical Camelot that is drawn from it to 1960. It is probably a stretch to think that books for young children could be in the forefront of a new focus on the material, but who knows? Black and Smith, or other children’s authors, might decide that the tale of Sir Morien barely scratches the surface of some under-appreciated and quite excellent storytelling that should still have appeal in the 21st century. Stranger things have happened.


Mozart: String Quintets Nos. 1-6 (complete). The Alexander String Quartet (Zakarias Grafilo and Frederick Lifsitz, violins; David Samuel, viola; Sandy Wilson, cello); Paul Yarbrough, viola. Foghorn Classics. $34.99 (3 CDs).

Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 96-98. Danish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Adam Fischer. Naxos. $13.99.

     It is not really enough to play the music of Mozart and Haydn accurately. More than two centuries after these composers’ lifetimes, performers are highly familiar with works of far greater apparent complexity in scoring, harmony and rhythm. And that can be a disadvantage, because it can lead to an unconscious feeling that there is something somehow “lesser” about the works of the Classical era – which is exactly the opposite of the truth. In reality, there is in Mozart and Haydn a purity of form and approach, and a level of understanding of the capabilities of instruments and players alike, that require tremendous sensitivity to nuance and detail: nothing is extraneous or misplaced, and nothing should sound formulaic even when the music is structured in rigid forms – that rigidity actually frees up the composers to produce levels of subtlety that in later years were either lost or created in more over-the-top ways. It is the awareness of subtleties of balance and of inter-instrumental communication that makes the performance of Mozart’s six quintets for strings by the Alexander String Quartet plus Paul Yarbrough so special. Less familiar than the 23 string quartets, these quintets not only have a richer sound because of the added viola but also explore some expressive regions in ways made possible by the increased heft of the ensemble. The first quintet (in B-flat, K. 174) was directly inspired by works by Haydn’s younger brother, Michael, and is actually scored for basso rather than cello, although it is inevitably played on cello nowadays. Written just after the Viennese quartets – which were inspired by the elder Haydn – the K. 174 quintet is pleasant, light and almost relentlessly upbeat in mood. It gets a suitably well-balanced but not inappropriately perky performance here. It is paired on this release’s first disc with the C major quintet, K. 515, usually labeled as No. 3 (although the sequencing of the quintets is a bit complicated). A fully mature quintet, K. 515 – which inspired Schubert to write his own C major quintet, but using two cellos rather than two violas – has an especially extended first movement: all the quintets are front-weighted, but this one especially so. These performers allow the movement its large scale without letting it overshadow the remaining movements, achieving a more-than-satisfactory balance for the work as a whole. The C major quintet and the one in G minor, K. 516, are in the same paired keys as Mozart’s penultimate and final symphonies – and have the same exceptional level of contrast. K. 516 opens the second disc in this set, and here the sensitivity of the performers really comes through. This is a very strange piece indeed, with a second-movement Menuetto that is thoroughly undanceable, uses ¾ time unusually, and exists on the border between pathos and tragedy. Indeed, the whole quintet has more depth, and more sorrow, than any of Mozart’s other works in this form – until the main portion of the finale, which shows up only after an Adagio section in G minor has further deepened the pervasive dark mood. Like the finale of Piano Concerto No. 20, the concluding Allegro of this quintet brings a bright, carefree sense of abandonment and joy to an otherwise distinctly heavy work. That makes the concluding movement very difficult to perform successfully – but the Alexander String Quartet and Paul Yarbrough do so, playing it with sufficient verve, zest and insouciance to bring a sense of balance to the entire piece without ever fully erasing the impact of the first three-plus movements.

     The G minor quintet, usually called No. 4, is paired in this three-CD Foghorn Classics release with the other minor-key quintet, K. 406 (516b) in C minor. Although generally designated as No. 2, the C minor quintet was actually written after K. 515 and K. 516 – which means the sequencing of this recording makes perfect sense. Despite the minor key, this is a far less emotional work than K. 516 – and in fact is an arrangement of one of Mozart’s earlier pieces, the Serenade No. 12 for Winds, K. 388/384a. Mozart essentially mapped the oboe and clarinet parts of the wind serenade to the violins and violas to produce this string quintet – and the arrangement works very well indeed. The performers make no attempt to force this work into depths it does not possess, but they highlight the quintet’s lovely lyrical sections very well and do a particularly fine job with the concluding theme-and-variations movement. The third CD in this recording includes the fifth and sixth quartets – No. 5 in D, K. 593, and No. 6 in E-flat, K. 614. Both are comparatively straightforward works that stay in major keys throughout, and both show the same sort of Olympian maturity that is in evidence in other late Mozart pieces, such as the final piano concertos: K. 614 is actually the composer’s last major chamber work. Performances of these late quintets are sometimes on the respectful side, lacking the ebullience given to the earlier ones, but not so here: there is no attempt to make the quintets magisterial or treat them as any sort of summation of Mozart’s works in this form – instead, each is played to highlight its own character, and both are offered in knowing, well-balanced and carefully thought-out readings. This is as good a Mozart quintet cycle as will be found anywhere, full of sensitivity and brimming with the enjoyment to be had in performing – and listening to – chamber music of the highest order.

     Just as Mozart’s subtleties are key to strong performances of his chamber music, so are Haydn’s when it comes to his chamber music – and his symphonies, which have managed to withstand all sorts of historically inaccurate orchestral gigantism and post-Romantic attempts to turn them into works quite different from those that Haydn actually wrote. Haydn’s innumerable contributions to the symphony are not always obvious from a 200-years-later vantage point, because they were so widely adopted by pretty much all later composers (as well as Haydn’s contemporaries) that they sound as if they have always existed. But in fact, characteristics such as the extensive use of woodwinds, the inclusion of dance movements and their later development beyond their ballroom origins, the balance among sections and within symphonies as a whole, the expectation of virtuosic playing by portions of the orchestra and at times by individual musicians – all these and more show Haydn’s innovative propensities. In recent years, some conductors have tried to bring back the sense of just how much Haydn changed symphonic form, in expressiveness and other ways. One such is Adam Fischer, who is now engaged in yet another of several multi-symphony recordings he has made, featuring Haydn played with historical awareness and an orchestra of suitable size – albeit using modern instruments. The second disc in this Naxos sequence, in which Fischer conducts the Danish Chamber Orchestra, features Symphonies Nos. 96-98, and is more effective and less quirky than the first (which included Nos. 93-95). In No. 96, the first movement is bright and bouncy, with strong piano/forte contrasts. The mid-movement fade is well done, and the strings are particularly good in their scurrying passages. The second movement has a nicely quizzical open, and the woodwind interjections are handled well, although the pacing varies a bit too much from section to section. The weaving of the violin line into the overall orchestral sound is well-handled. The third movement has a rather angular sound and is certainly not a danceable Menuetto. The emphatic timpani are a highlight, and there is a very nice lilt to the Trio. The fourth movement is quite fast (it is marked Vivace assai but not always played at that pace); yet there is very delicate string work, resulting in an impressive mixture of speed and effective dynamics. Again, the timpani emphases are intense and attractive, and the scalar passages are very well done – every note is clearly audible.

     The first movement of Symphony No. 97 features an emphatic opening chord, then a well-handled blend of instruments and a sudden strong drumbeat to introduce the Vivace. All is good humor and strong emphasis here, and the unexpected pauses – a Haydn characteristic adopted in one form or another by pretty much all later symphonists – enliven the presentation. The second movement’s gentle rocking motion is coupled with pleasant variations in orchestration, making for well-varied coloration. The surprising mid-movement outburst contrasts well with the generally gentle earlier material. There are wonderful contrasts of speed, orchestration, and feeling in the variations, with the delicacy of soft sections especially impressive. The third movement strides forth with a martial air, emphasized by timpani; contrasting soft passages are very effective. In the Trio, the use of woodwinds makes for apt contrast. The finale is ebullient, percolating along brightly like a perpetual-motion machine. There are little touches of humor throughout in rhythmic changes, unexpected instrumental entries, and clever blends of sound. The sudden pause and slowdown just before the end come as a great surprise. In Symphony No. 98, the first movement’s contrasts between louder and softer sections are particularly well done, and the brightness of the main theme is nicely accentuated. The timpani effectively underline the music’s emphatic portions, while brass interjections brighten the sound and mood. Quieter parts of the movement provide respite from strongly emphasized ones, and the timpani roll at the end is impressive. The second movement brings a strong contrast of mood as well as pacing. There is flowing lyricism throughout the first portion and intermittently thereafter. In this Adagio cantabile movement, Fischer makes sure the cantabile element comes through. The third movement is quite fast for a Menuetto, almost sounding as if it has two beats rather than three to the measure because of the timpani emphases. The Trio is slower, its pacing more appropriate, providing good contrast not only in speed but also in instrumentation. As a result, the return of the speedy Menuetto comes as a surprise even though it is structurally expected. The fourth movement has a wonderfully perky theme that is here played brightly and speedily, with slower passages used for accentuation to good effect. Outbursts from the full orchestra brighten the mood, while short solos make the movement's sound highly varied. Fischer pulls out all the stops at the conclusion, producing a more-dramatic ending than is usually heard in Haydn. Fischer is overtly committed to trying to give modern audiences a sense of just how exceptional Haydn’s effect was in the composer’s time, and while his approach sometimes overdoes matters of pacing and balance, at other times it effectively highlights just how special Haydn’s symphonies were when first heard – explaining both their huge popularity with audiences and the reasons they were so extremely influential among other composers.


Music for Woodwind Orchestra by Philip Sparke, Gary Carpenter, Christopher Hussey, and Adam Gorb. Czech Philharmonic Wind Ensemble conducted by Shea Lolin. Divine Art. $18.99.

Louis Karchin: Music for Winds and Keyboard. Bridge Records. $16.99.

John Buckley: Music for Flute and Piano. Emma Coulthard, flute; David Appleton, piano; Emma Halnan, second flute. Métier. $18.99.

Music for Flute and Harp by Mozart, Ibert, Bach, Lutosławski, Satie, Lachlan Skipworth, Elena Kats-Chernin, Christopher Sainsbury, Jessica Wells, and Sally Greenaway. Sally Walker, flute; Emily Granger, harp. AVIE. $17.99.

     Although strings and piano tend to get most of the attention in contemporary chamber-music performance, there is some very worthwhile music for winds out there as well – including pieces that may reach beyond the core audience that actively seeks out works by today’s composers. The four British composers whose works for winds are heard on a new Divine Art recording (originally released a decade ago on a label called Legni Classics) all have a sure sense of style, write idiomatically for woodwinds, and seem more concerned with the old-fashioned notion of connecting with an audience that with producing music solely for the cognoscenti. The composers are not well-known, and neither is the music: only one piece, Overture for Woodwinds by Philip Sparke (born 1951), has been recorded before. This is the work that opens the disc, and it makes a suitable curtain raiser: nicely blended, effectively paced, and not over-long (six minutes). Like the other pieces here, it is scored for a comparatively large woodwind ensemble (18 players), but retains a chamber-music feel by avoiding lengthy passages of massed instruments. After this, Pantomime by Gary Carpenter (born 1951) is offered: a five-movement suite, it includes a pleasant “Cavatina,” some not-quite-danceable dances, and a march – and culminates in a waltz labeled “Depravity,” which is a bit of an overstatement for the amusing movement. The fourth movement, “Grand March (of the Chief Executive),” which starts with an actual bit of Mahler before becoming anything but grand, is especially clever. The work as a whole is accessible and well-written for the woodwind group. It is followed on the CD by the first of two works by Christopher Hussey (born 1974): Dreamtide, a three-movement piece (originally for mixed choir, arranged for woodwinds by the composer) that tries a bit too hard to be impressionistic but is nicely scored, with some good contrasts of tempo and rhythm. Next is the three-movement Battle Symphony by Adam Gorb (born 1958), which is a bit like an update of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber’s 1673 Battalia – an impression made immediately when the first movement opens with a “Flourish” that is definitely in tune (so to speak) with Biber’s time. Gorb includes non-Biber-ish elements such as “Soldiers’ Drunken Panic,” but “Lament for the Dead,” “Triumphal Dance” and other sections fit right in with an old-style battle. And the orchestration, while it has modern touches here and there, is for the most part determinedly old-fashioned. Indeed, all these woodwind works hew fairly closely to older compositional styles than the avant-garde ones so often favored in contemporary chamber music; as a result, all are accessible to any audience. The composers do know how to speak a more-modern language when they wish, however. The final work on the disc, Hussey’s three-movement Twisted Skyscape, may not push the winds into uncomfortable sonic distortions, but its aural landscape and frequent lapses into dissonance leave no doubt about its modern provenance. This disc is altogether successful in exposing listeners to new and interesting woodwind works that are played to excellent effect by the very fine musicians of the Czech Philharmonic Wind Ensemble under Shea Lolin.

     Winds are employed strictly at chamber-music size and in much more typical 21st-century form in the music by Louis Karchin (born 1951) on a (+++) Bridge Records CD. The most-extended work here, the four-movement Quintet for Winds (2021), immediately announces itself with dissonance and contrasts between solo and grouped instruments, and proceeds in fits and starts without much lyricism or forward motion, but with plenty of color in the instrumental mixture. The performance by Windscape (Tara Helen O’Connor, flute; Randall Ellis, oboe; Alan R. Kay, clarinet; David Jolley, French horn; Frank Morelli, bassoon) is well-balanced, nicely played and has some welcome touches of humor – especially in the third-movement Scherzando, which really does sound as if the players are joking around a bit. The other woodwind work on the CD is Summer Song (1994/2021) for solo clarinet (Marianne Gythfeldt); this sounds like an étude exploring the instrument’s full range and various techniques for playing it – songful, however, it is not. The remaining pieces on this disc are for keyboard instruments. Sonata-Fantasia (2020) is for piano (Stephen Drury) and has a proclamatory opening that turns into a wide-ranging exploration of the instrument – here too there is an étude feeling about the music. Three Images (2020), also for piano (Michael Stephen Brown), is suitably upbeat in “Festivals,” mildly mysterious in “Labyrinths,” and pleasantly bouncy in “Carousel” despite lacking any round-and-round-we-go feeling. The third piano work here is the short A Jersey Reverie on New York Notes (2018), played by Han Chen and giving the impression of a halting nocturne. The CD concludes with Processions (2007/2021) for organ (Carson Cooman), which offers some interesting contrasts but is structured with irregular rhythms and pacing that have little to do with the processional form. The CD will be of greatest value to listeners already familiar with Karchin’s music and interested in a smattering of his chamber works.

     Somewhat analogously, aficionados of the music of John Buckley (born 1951) will be the main audience for a (+++) CD of his flute-and-piano music on the Métier label. Actually, the disc mixes flute-and-piano works with others involving the flute, resulting in a more-varied aural experience than if everything had been for the same two-instrument combination. The very first piece here is Five Études for Two Flutes, which are neatly reflective of their titles (e.g., “Perpetuum Mobile,” “Canon”) but sound as if they are more fun to play than simply to hear – although the concluding “Streetcar” is an enjoyable romp. Next is In Memoriam Doris Keogh, for flute and piano – a work memorializing the Irish flautist and teacher (1922-2012). The three-movement piece, intricate and insistently modern in harmony and rhythmic irregularity, is most effective in its central and longest movement, “Nocturne.” Two Fantasias for Alto Flute and Airflow (for solo flute) give Emma Coulthard ample opportunity to demonstrate both sound and technique, with the attractively exploratory Airflow being the most-interesting of the three pieces from a non-flute-playing listener’s perspective. Then the pianist on this recording, David Appleton, gets a chance to be heard without flute in Three Études for Piano. The first, elaborate movement, “Nine Variations,” is interestingly complex, while “Through the Empty Vaulted Night” and “Stars and Dreams” are more conventionally conceived. After this, Coulthard is again heard alone in Three Pieces for Solo Flute, which feel like études exploring the instrument’s full range and seeking (and occasionally finding) ways to make it sound somewhat un-flute-like. The second piece’s pointillist approach is particularly engaging. After this comes Sea Echoes (for glissando flute), which is interesting mainly for the chance to hear the effect of this instrumental modification, which makes a downward glissando possible from every note. The disc concludes with Boireann for flute and piano, in which Coulthard and Appleton mostly sound as if they are playing disparate works at the same time – the piece certainly has a contemporary sound to it, but at nearly 11 minutes, it overstays its welcome by a fair amount.

     The flute gets a more-intriguing accompanying instrument – but a much stranger program – on a new (+++) AVIE disc pairing Sally Walker with harpist Emily Granger. There are 10 pieces on this 57-minute CD, which means nothing is particularly extensive; but nothing is particularly cohesive, either, with works of all types and time periods thrown together willy-nilly, and with pieces written for flute and harp mixed indiscriminately with ones that Granger has arranged for this combination. Make no mistake: the duo’s sound here is pretty and is the primary interest of the recording. But the music itself takes a back seat to its aural presentation, not least because of the strange order in which everything is presented. The disc opens with Ode by Lachlan Skipworth (born 1982), a pleasantly evocative four-minute scene-setter that sounds a bit like movie music. Next is Granger’s arrangement of the Andantino from Mozart’s flute-and-harp concerto, a wonderful work that perhaps Walker and Granger will offer in its original form sometime – here, the single movement extracted and arranged from the concerto takes on what is almost a pop-music (or “relaxation music”) sound. Next is Something like this (there are no capital letters in the second and third words), a dreamlike little nocturne by Elena Kats-Chernin (born 1957). Then comes Djagamara, an even quieter and more-evanescent little piece, by Christopher Sainsbury (born 1963). After this is Entr’acte by Jacques Ibert – this is a much bouncier and more-upbeat piece that provides some welcome up-tempo brightness and some of Ibert’s typical skill in miniatures. Then the performers offer Granger’s arrangement of the G minor violin-or-flute-with-harpsichord sonata, BWV 1020, that is traditionally attributed to “old Bach” but is almost certainly by his son, Carl Philipp Emanuel. As so often in Bach adaptations, the music transcends the arrangement – whatever the work’s original provenance – and it is pleasant to hear so carefully balanced and elegant a work in the middle of this somewhat disorganized CD. It is odd, then, to have this sonata followed by Three Fragments for Flute and Harp or Piano by Witold Lutosławski. Certainly there is tremendous contrast between the Baroque music and these one-minute miniatures, but the juxtaposition results in a strange feeling of sonic dislocation – intentional, perhaps, but nevertheless somewhat jarring even though the concluding Presto is delightfully bouncy. Next is Sati by Jessica Wells (born 1974), whose evenness of tempo and careful balance of instruments make it a standout on the disc for its pleasant flow and idiomatic handling of both flute and harp. After this come Granger’s transcriptions for solo harp of Gymnopédies Nos. 1 and 3 by Erik Satie, with the inherent delicacy of these works coming through well even though the familiar No. 1 is paced to near-stasis. The CD then concludes with Poems I, II, III for Flute and Harp by Sally Greenaway (born 1984). Not much longer than the Lutosławski fragments, this set of three pieces is gentle, evocative, and thoroughly relaxed, flowing in genuinely poetic mode throughout each of its movements. This work and Wells’ are highlights among the more-recent compositions on the disc; and everything here, from whatever era, receives a first-rate, sensitive, beautifully blended performance. Still, the recording comes across as a rather strange sequence of pieces whose brevity mean they sound as if they are more-or-less encores. The recital is beautiful but uneven, lovely to hear but not musically cohesive enough to merit repeated close attention. Despite individual standout pieces, the totality comes across mostly as a disc of pretty background music.

November 22, 2023


Color Universe: A World of Coloring Challenges. By Kerby Rosanes. Plume. $17.

     Kerby Rosanes has a way of transporting viewers of his tremendously detailed black-and-white drawings to realms that have never existed, ones that might possibly exist, and ones that definitely exist but have never looked quite the way he portrays them. All those journeys are wrapped up in Color Universe, which contains material originally published in Alien Worlds, Fragile World, Mythic World, and Worlds within Worlds. Rosanes’ art is immediately recognizable for its extreme detail and his preoccupation with certain types of unusual designs and perspectives – notably, creatures of the natural world (not necessarily our natural world) whose backs carry additional natural elements, or evidence of civilization; or strange beings that morph into apparent landscape features. A number of those odd and expressive illustrations appear in Color Universe, such as a giant turtle-shelled being with amazingly anthropomorphic, expressive facial features, a head atop which is a wading pool for birds, and a back upon which are both natural elements and created ones. Another example is a stegosaurus-like creature whose back sports buildings and power lines rather than triangular scales.

     Mythic elements also abound in Rosanes’ art, sometimes drawn from actual myths: one impressive page here shows the three Fates, Clotho the Spinner of life’s thread, Lachesis the Allotter of lifespan, and Atropos the Inflexible determiner of death – surrounded respectively by elaborate timepieces, abundantly flowering vegetation, and a pile of skulls. At other times, Rosanes creates scenes that are overtly otherworldly but that look as if they portray yet-undiscovered mythic tales: a giant, looming spiderlike being standing or floating in front of a spacesuited person shown as comparatively minuscule; a sort of outer-space Pandora’s box from which gears and other manufactured implements emerge along with bizarre skulls and skeletons, with a planetary scene in the background; and others.

     Despite the undoubted attractiveness of Rosanes’ more-unusual creations, many of his most-impressive illustrations are extremely detailed renditions of ordinary Earth creatures – which become extraordinary when shown with this level of detail. Color Universe includes a number of these: pigeons perched on a tree branch; a pack of four wild dogs, apparently on the hunt; a bat hanging upside-down from a branch while consuming the fruit growing there; an extreme close-up view of a mandrill’s face; and more. As befits a coloring book for adults, all the pages are in black-and-white, and it is up to every would-be colorist to decide to what extent the portrayals – which are already impressive without being colored – should use realistic or thoroughly unrealistic palettes in order to enhance or alter Rosanes’ originals.

     The potential of varying approaches to color is clearly shown in the 16-page section that opens this book, in which some individuals’ approaches to various illustrations are shown and discussed by Rosanes from an artistic standpoint. Rosanes analyzes each colorist’s use of specific hues in expected or unexpected ways, explains the way light and shadow are emphasized or de-emphasized, and suggests how the use of color can create a sense of harmony or build on the outré nature of a scene. These colored pages will not be to the taste of other artists, of course, but all the illustrations appear later in the book in their original black-and-white form, which can be interpreted or reinterpreted as each individual wishes. The intricacy and care of all Rosanes’ work is everywhere apparent in this compilation volume, and as always in his books, the pages are sufficiently impressive in their original form so that it is not necessary to color them at all in order to enjoy what he has created. In fact, it would be interesting sometime to see some samples of pages in which only dollops of color are added to Rosanes’ original art – a touch of accentuation here and there to bring out the underlying fascination of the black-and-white originals. Whether brightly colored or seen in their unmodified form, Rosanes’ scenes create an impressive sense of visiting worlds that cannot be as well as the one we already have but may never have looked at with this level of attention to detail.