Paul Schoenfield's work is hard to describe: basically tonal, but with elements of many different compositional schools thrown in to create a highly personal mix.
"Four Parables" is in essence, a piano concerto -- a virtuosic romp that sometimes sounds like Gershwin on psychedelic drugs -- and as such requires a formidable pianist to negotiate its difficulties. We are lucky to have Jeffrey Kahane serving as (at this time) the sole recorded advocate of this entertaining and often humorous work, helped by the talented young musicians of the New World Symphony, and all directed with great spirit and style by John Nelson.
The fillers, hardly afterthoughts, are engaging, too: excellent renditions of the quirky "Vaudeville" and "Klezmer Rondos," the latter with Carol Wincenc on flute. Argo's sound is natural and clear -- perhaps on the bright side, but it complements the vivid colors of Schoenfield's writing.
If you are unfamiliar with one of America's most original living composers, this recording is a great place to begin.