Composer — Critics of the New York Herald Tribune Various artists www.otherminds.org The appearance of any recording of the music of Australian-American composer Peggy GlanvilleHicks (1912-90) is a cause for celebration, especially when it’s the work she often declared her “favourite child”, the Sonata for Piano and Percussion (1952). It’s a reissue of the original (and sole?) recording with pianist Carlo Bussotti and the New York Percussion Group conducted by Carlos Surinach. The work dates from PGH’s heyday as one of the stable of composer-critics at the New York Herald Tribune. From 1940 to 1954, Virgil Thomson led a team that included, among others, Paul Bowles, Lou Harrison and John Cage. Each figures in this remarkable compilation selected by Charles Amirkhanian, the tireless and celebrated advocate for American music, through his San Franciscobased organisation Other Minds. The irrepressible Thomson figures as pianist in Capital Capitals (1927) a surreal mix of Gregorian chant and Gertrude Stein, for the bizarre combination of four male voices and piano. Some nondescript incidental music for a farce by Bowles (1938) leaves no great impression, while Harrison’s Suite for Cello and Harp (1949) is deeply moving. Cage’s desiccated String Quartet in Four Parts (1950), tentatively played, has not travelled well across the decades, nor, sadly, has PGH’s ebullient Sonata, which emerges as a kind of Lonely Planet tour of a musical world composers had barely begun to discover. Aside from the music, the real joy of this release is its commentary, a 60-page booklet assiduously compiled by Amirkhanian. It should be required reading for lazy Australian companies that care little for background information. It illustrates also how we need an Australian equivalent of Other Minds.