On Sunday afternoon at Old First Church, composer Elinor Armer faced the risks inherent in any recital dedicated to a single composer's work. She must have come away from it with an enhanced sense of achievement, because the program's seven compositions were well-performed, enthusiastically received, and richly indicative of her talent and accomplishments. The concert was titled "Bestiary," referring to several of the pieces that were composed in homage to creatures real and imaginary. In these works, Armer presents herself as a kind of musical fabulist, spinning fantasies about actual and mythical beings with humor, affection, and a sense of wonder. Her musical style is distinctly modern, but freely and authentically so, projecting her own individual voice. Trout Surviving, for three percussionists, is the tale of a wily fish that "got away," based on a personal anecdote by the composer. It begins with the sound of a softly reverberating gong being withdrawn slowly from a tub of water. As it emerges, the pitch and volume rise, creating a mysterious aura of "Once upon a time." Vibraphone and marimbas set the scene in motion, suggesting gently lapping water, while various nonpitched percussion provide the sensation of underwater marine life. During a sudden dazzling eruption, the angler strikes and the trout is hooked, but then escapes into some marshy reeds, eluding the fisher. Finally, the reverberant gong is lowered into the tub of water, ending this brief tone poem the way it began. Beast is a virtuoso solo for bass clarinet, played here with verve and authority by Jonathan Russell. Armer shaped the lithe, serpentine quality of the instrument's sound into a quasireptilian texture, with Russell snorting and snuffling as he played. After an episode of sensuous cavorting, the beast lopes off into the wilderness with a regretful bleat or two. This piece is a fascinating blend of purely musical values with the bizarrely comical vocalizing of an imaginary creature. Vivid and amusing, it is also finely balanced, so that nothing seems awry, or too cute, or overdone. Api, for violin, viola, and percussion, was the program's finale, and its most extended piece. In several movements, it depicts the life of a bee colony — the mating swarm, the queen's egg laying, the bees dancing, and the hive's invasion by another colony. As usual, Armer finds the right-sounding musical equivalents for her protagonists, so that as the scenes are presented and the tale is told, a beautiful and interesting sound structure emerges. Her writing for strings and percussion is particularly apt, whether to portray the swarming bees or the harsh, warring clash of invaders.