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  May 24-31, 2004

Conductor as Composer: 
José Serebrier
There are great conductors who are gifted composers. Mahler is a famous example.  Bernstein is another. Among contemporaries, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s pieces leave me cold but there is no denying he has talent.  There are great conductors who are lousy composers.  Suzanne and I were so dispirited last month by a meandering and seemingly endless piece by Michael Tilson-Thomas that we left a New World Symphony concert at intermission and missed the Lou Harrison and Takamitsu pieces we had come to hear.  Among contemporary conductors, no one is better than the Brazilian-born American, José Serebrier, whose haunting romantic, yet oddly modern, melodies get inside your brain and stay there, like old friends, fondly remembered.  In the notes that follow, Serebrier discusses  the pieces on the recent Naxos recording of his works.  JB

My Elegy for Strings (1952) was first performed in Belho Horizonte, Brazil, conducted by my composition teacher, Guido Santórsola. I did not hear that performance, but I was present when he conducted it in Montevideo a few weeks later. To this day I recall a local critic writing that he enjoyed this dark, brooding piece, but that it had to be impersonal, because it seemed inconceivable to him that a fourteen-year-old boy living in Montevideo could write such sad, dark music. The Elegy was a first in many ways for my beginnings as a composer. It was my first published composition (by the Pan American Union in Washington DC, which in turn led to my life-long relationship with Peer Music publishers). It was my first work to be played abroad, with performances at Radio France in Paris, conducted by Juan Protasi, and a New York première at Carnegie Hall conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Shortly after my arrival in the United States I started my studies with Aaron Copland, and it was he who suggested the title for the enigmatic Momento psicológico (1957). I had mentioned to Copland the motive behind this work: “There is that crucial moment in life when you must decide whether to make a left or a right turn, and that choice can shape your destiny.” Copland replied: “It’s a fateful, psychological Moment.”

After graduation from the University of Minnesota, and Antal Dorati’s departure from Minneapolis, with my Guggenheim grants finished, life became a big question mark. While driving back to New York I stopped for gas in a small city in upstate New York, and read a newspaper announcement that on that same evening the local orchestra was auditioning conductors. With spirit of adventure, I called to ask if it was still possible to apply. The audition was successful, and I became the music director of the Utica Symphony, a semi-professional orchestra. The position came as a package with a part-time Assistant Professorship at the local college to teach violin and composition. This new school, part of Syracuse University, used makeshift classrooms, but at least I had my own office, and a school library room where I could compose. It was in this school library/cafeteria that I wrote every note of my Fantasia for String Quartet (1960). The noise and the constant chatter failed to distract me. I enjoyed writing this piece, on commission from the Harvard Musical Association in Massachusetts, a contest I had won which included a première by members of the Boston Symphony, at the Harvard Musical Association’s beautiful salons. The première, in the spring of 1961 was a wonderful event. The next time it was played was in Washington, DC at the Inter-American Music Festival. I was unable to attend, but was amused by the Washington Post’s review, which declared it an “instant hit, a veritable 1812 of string quartets.” That was not what I had in mind at all, but I was delighted that it had communicated so well. Later, Wladimir Lakond, the editor at Peer Music, suggested a string orchestra version of it, with double basses added, and he published both versions. As time passes, I still feel very close to this piece which just poured out of my pen in less than a week.

During my first years with Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra in New York I was still writing music regularly, mostly encouraged by him and some of his best musicians. Stokowski had assembled an orchestra with some of the best free-lance virtuoso musicians in the New York area. Two of the star performers were Paul Price, who commissioned my Symphony for Percussion for his Manhattan Percussion Ensemble, and Davis Shulman, who commissioned a work for trombone and strings. I received a commission from the American Accordionists Association to write a work for accordion and chamber orchestra, the Passacaglia and Perpetuum Mobile, for accordion and chamber orchestra (1966). The instrument was entirely foreign to me, but Elsie Bennett, longtime president of the organization, and the brains behind their massive commissioning series, lent me an accordion, which I studied for weeks. It was a great challenge, because the chords provided by the buttons on the left side of the instrument were ready-set, giving the composer very little freedom for tonal imagination and variety. The instrument has since then been improved, and composers today do not have that problem. I gave the commissioning organization a bonus, a piece for solo accordion, which I wrote at the same time.

As life grew busier with conducting tours and the direction of international festivals, I saw my composing time brought to a halt. What broke the ice, some fifteen years after my last works, was a combination of circumstances. For my festival in Miami I had commissioned Elliott Carter to write his Fourth String Quartet which we premièred together with new works by many other composers. In 1987 I had ten prominent composers write new works especially for Lucas Drew, one of the foremost double-bass virtuosos in America. He insisted, however, that I add my own contribution to the list. My small contribution to Lucas Drew’s series of commissions was George & Muriel. (1986), for the unusual ensemble of double-bass, double-bass choir, and wordless off-stage chorus. I found that writing this short piece, after so many years, was as if I had never stopped composing, and it encouraged me to continue. At that time, my close friends George and Muriel Marek were about to celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary and I could not think of a more personal gift for them than a new composition. This work does not intend to be in any way a portrait of the Mareks. It is a work I may have written anyway. The music reflects what was on my mind at that moment, my most intimate thoughts, and as such it is my humble but deeply felt homage to George and Muriel Marek.

Symphony No. 3 and other works 
Composer:  José Serebrier
Advertising and Sponsorship Information
Send announcements to the Editors
It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's... a musical landscape? A fleet of hot air balloons hovering over the UK city of Birmingham awakened residents this week with a specially designed "musical landscape... Although the music devised by sleep psychologists was designed to stimulate sweet dreams, balloon pilots watched residents run out into the street to observe the fleet hovering just a few hundred feet above them. The early morning stunt marked the launch of Birmingham’s bid for a share in a £15 million Arts Council fund for promoting cultural events, backed by Fierce!, an international festival of live art." The Scotsman (UK) 05/13/04 

Attack Of The Alien Atonality Why is it, all these many years after atonality was introduced into music, that it still seems to shock listeners? And what is it about tonality that makes it seem familiar and easy to like? NewMusicBox 05/04 

Student Composers - Looking For Heroes "Composers grow up with the idea that music is a game of heroes. In history books, they read that their forebears dazzled kings, electrified crowds, forged nations. Sooner or later, they come up against the disappointing realization that modern American culture has no space for a composer hero. That disappointment easily metastasizes into profound resentment, which no amount of success can dislodge. Indeed, the most famous composers are often the unhappiest." The New Yorker 05/10/04 

Degrading Experience - CD's Rotting Some consumers are finding that older CD's in their collection are degrading, suffering from "CD rot," a gradual deterioration of the data-carrying layer. It's not known for sure how common the blight is, but it's just one of a number of reasons that optical discs, including DVDs, may be a lot less long-lived than first thought. 'We were all told that CDs were well-nigh indestructible when they were introduced in the mid-'80s. Companies used that in part to justify the higher price of CDs as well." Washington Post 05/11/04 

When Things Look Dark, Innovate How real is the threat to orchestral music that critics and pundits are always writing about? Real but not dire, says Henry Fogel, former Chicago Symphony chief and current head of the American Symphony Orchestra League. Fogel points out that, of the various art forms used as popular entertainment, only concert music has remained unchanged in its presentation since the days of Brahms and Beethoven. That's a problem, since modern audiences have come to expect innovative presentation in theaters and museums, and orchestras are perceived as stodgy and boring as a result. Fogel also cites the lack of music education in schools as a factor in the form's decline, calling the current system of American arts education "a disaster." Rocky Mountain News (Denver) 05/13/04 

Hockey Opera Sells Out Prague "With subjects such as television reality shows providing fodder for contemporary opera, why not sports? Martin Smolka’s Nagano, an opera in three periods plus overtime, relates the Czechs’ victory at the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998, having come near but never achieving the gold four times in 50 years." Financial Times 05/11/04 

Cut-Rate Opera Doesn't Fly Why did Raymond Gubbay's Savoy Opera fail so quickly? "Gubbay was selling the Savoy Opera as unexceptional everyday West End fare, without the 'snobbery' and 'elitism' that supposedly put "ordinary" folk off. But what came across, I think, was an unfortunate impression of mediocrity. And Joe Public never wants to pay good money for that. Precisely the opposite, in fact." The Telegraph (UK) 05/13/04 

Music School Makes Big (Economic) Impact A recent study shows that the Cleveland Institute of Music "as an annual economic impact in Ohio of about $92.3 million. The firm surveyed students, faculty, staff and audience members to come up with the figure, which surprised even the Impact Economics consultant who did the study." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 05/16/04 

A Downloading Plan That Pays Musicians Harvard professor Terry Fisher has unveiled a plan that would pay artists for their music and allow (even encourage) rampant downloading. "Fisher advocates an alternative compensation system that would pay artists based on the popularity of their music. Artists would first have to register their work with the copyright office, which would track how many times that work was downloaded. Revenue generated from taxes on things like Internet access and the sale of MP3 players would then be used to pay the artists." Wired 05/16/04 

In Bamberg: Looking For A Conductor Of Greatness The Bamberg Symphony stages a conducting competition, but not just any conducting competition. "In Bamberg, the entire city searched along with the orchestra for a person with charisma, an ear for music and a clear beat, with unmistakable body language and a feel for the orchestra as a social system. Such an unruly concert as that which was performed on the closing evening of the competition to such an enthusiastic audience at the same time is probably only conceivable in such an environment, where almost 10 percent of the population has a subscription to the local symphony orchestra and the musical ensemble is visibly supported by the city as a collective." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 05/14/04 

A Challenger To Chicago Lyric Opera Emerges Chicago Opera Theatre was founded 30 years ago as n alternative to the Chicago Lyric Opera. But "with the appointment five years ago of former Glyndebourne chief Brian Dickie as general director, it has begun to offer productions with musical and theatrical qualities worthy of international attention. In its first season in the new, acoustically splendid, Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater, Chicago Opera fulfils its new promise with the much-belated Chicago premiere of Benjamin Britten's 1973 Death in Venice." Financial Times 05/12/04

Last Week's News
NYC Opera Presents
'Waking in New York' 
Elodie Lauten is a pioneer of post-minimalism.
The New York City Opera will present a very special performance of Elodie Lauten’s opera “Waking in New York, Portrait of Allen Ginsberg”, by the City Opera Orchestra and soloists under Music Director George Manahan on Wednesday, May 26 at 2 PM at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street in Manhattan.

This presentation is sponsored by the New York City Opera and will be part of their 2004 VOX and Friends festival of new opera. Most scenes from the opera’s second act will be presented on May 26, including: “Personals Ad”, “Jumping the Gun on the Sun”, “Manhattan Thirties 
Flash”, “The Weight of the World Is Love” and “O New York.” “Margaret Garner" by Richard Danielpour, “Summer and All It Brings” by Daniel Felsenfeld and “Korczak’s Orphan” by Adam Silverman will also be presented. Each piece is excerpted to approximately 30 minutes.

This concert is free and open to the public. For reservations or other information, please call 212-388-0202. For more information, please call the Symphony Space Box Office at 212-864-5400, or visit them online.

During the Summer of 1996, only a few months before his death, the late Allen Ginsberg put together a set of poems on the theme of New York, as suggested by Elodie Lauten for a musical setting. The poems he selected, from “Cosmopolitan Greetings 1986-1992”, “Collected Poems 1947-1980”, and “White Shroud Poems 1980-1989,” are highly autobiographical and reveal some of his most intimate thoughts.

“Waking in New York” is scored for baritone, soprano, mezzo soprano, and 
orchestra and closely follows Ginsberg’s own flow of mental associations, which act as triggers of rhythm changes and key 
modulations. This New York City Opera presentation of Waking in New York 
follows three New York productions (Music Under Construction, 1999; 14th St Y Theater. 2001; and Snug Harbor Festival, 2002) and a CD release on 4-Tay Records (2003).

The composer has written of the work, “Generally, I tried to stay close to Allen’s train of thought, alternatively introspective and expansive, sometimes triggering hints of different musical styles, but twice 
removed, never as direct quotes. It was like making film music with images provided by his consciousness - until the melody found its way of taking over.”

The New York Times has called “Waking in New York”, “lovely, effecting and affecting.” New Music Box has written, “The poetry of Allen Ginsberg has inspired a wide range of composers… however, all are trumped by 
Lauten's moving memorial to her creative mentor.” Gramophone UK said of the CD, “Lauten reveals greater artistry the further you look beneath the surface, successfully marking the leaps in Ginsberg's own 
impressionistic narrative with appropriate changes in metre and key,” and American Record Guide calls it a, “strange but oddly compelling work...often wild and marvelously demented chord changes... this is a music of Gotham updated to our times, immortalized by one of its best 
poetic voices, and put in motion by a composer in tune with the pulse of 
her city.”

Composer/keyboardist/producer Elodie Lauten has been described as a pioneer of post-minimalism, and a force on the new music scene. 18 recordings of her music have been released on 10 labels. Lauten has received awards from the NEA, ASCAP, MTC, AMC, and commissions from Lincoln Center, the Soho Baroque Opera, Harpsichord Unlimited and The Lark Ascending. 

Lauten’s Symphony 2001, was premiered in February 2003 by the SEM Orchestra in New York. In 1999, Lauten’s “Deus ex Machina Cycle” for voices and Baroque ensemble (4Tay) received strong critical acclaim in the US and Europe. Critics have hailed Elodie Lauten’s music as “an 
extraordinary revelation…a fixture of future musical lexicons” (England), “wonderfully exciting music” (Netherlands), “food for the soul” (Canada), “elegiac melodies” (The New York Times), “grand work that we are likely to return to again and again” (21st Century Music), “mesmerizing” (Option Magazine). She has been called “a composer of enchanting music… a seminal figure... one of the leading postminimal composers…a major talent (The Village Voice), “a musical magus in the Renaissance tradition” (Chicago Reader). Lauten’s “Variations On The Orange Cycle” was included in Chamber Music America’s list of 100 best works of the 20th century and has been recorded for Lovely Music CDs.  She received a Master's in composition from New York University where she studied Western composition with Dinu Ghezzo and Indian classical music with Ahkmal Parwez. From her father, jazz composer Errol Parker, she acquired a deep understanding of improvisation.

Previous Interviews/Profiles
Simon Rattle, Michael Gordon,Benjamin Lees, Scott Lindroth, David Felder, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Erkki-Sven Tüür,John Luther Adams, Brett Dean, Judith Lang Zaimont, Meyer Kupferman, Evan Chambers, Poul Ruders, Steven R. Gerber, Gloria Coates, Tobias Picker

Previous Articles/
Busoni The Visionary
The Composer of the Moment:  Mark-Anthony Turnage
Electronic Music
Voices: Henze at 75
Henze Meets Emenim
On Finding Kurtag
Charles Ruggles:  When Men Were Men
Ballet Mécanique
The Adams Chronicles

Old Stuff
An Interview with Tobias Picker
Handmaid Tale's Debuts in English
Rautavaara Joins B&G 
Who's Afraid of Julia Wolfe
Derek Bermel's Soul Garden
 The Pianist: The Extraordinary 
True Story of Wladyslaw Szpilman
John Adams' Atomic Opera
A Bridge Not Far Enough
Turnage Signs With B&H
Sophie's Wrong Choice
Copland's Mexico
On Being Arvo
Rzewski Plays Rzewski
Praising Lee Hyla
David Lang's Passing Measures

Record companies, artists and publicists are invited to submit CDs to be considered for our Editor's Pick's of the month.  Send to: Jerry Bowles, Editor, Sequenza 21, 340 W. 57th Street, 12B, New York, NY 10019
             THIS WEEK'S PICKS

Infernal Violins
Performer(s): Angele Dubeau, Le Pieta

Call it Angèle meets the devil.  Call it crossover.  But resistance is futile. 
Angèle Dubeau is a remarkable violinist, and here, she and her all-woman, 12-strong group, La Pieta, tackle some of the showiest virtuoso pieces composed or transposed for solo violin and strings, in various combinations, and with an occasional piano thrown in. From Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre  to the Jagger/Richards masterpiece Paint It Black, these ladies play these violin bon bons with a warmth and flair that would warm the devil’s heart.  A bonus DVD reveals the players to be as comely as they are talented. 

Knoxville: Summer of 1915 / Essays for Orchestra
Karina Gauvin, soprano / Thomas Trotter, organ / Royal Scottish National Orchestra / Marin Alsop, conductor 

Gramophone made this its top pick of the month and it's easy to understand why.  The young Canadian soprano  Karina Gauvin delivers a drop-dead gorgeous reading of Barber's magical setting of a James Agee poem.  Marin Alsop is also excellent in the two Essays for orchestra, works written for  Bruno Walter and Eugene Ormandy, respectively.

Piano Trios 1 & 2 
Vitebsk Trio
Composers:  Shostakovich, Copland
Trio Wanderer
harmonia mundi

Two well-known  masterpieces by Dmitri Shostakovich are paired to fine effect with a less well-known ‘Russian’ work by Aaron Copland.  Copland’s infrequently heard Vitebsk Trio of 1929 is an early work, based on a Jewish theme the composer heard at a performance of Dybbuk, a play by Shalom Ansky (who was born in the town of Vitebsk). The work combines elements of the neoclassicism and folk style of Stravinsky with experiments in polytonality and microtones.  Brilliantly performed by Trio Wanderer.

Symphony No.1, Phantasmata
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, David Zinman
First Edition

First released on Nonesuch in 1989,  this all-world-premiere title, which did much to bring Rouse’s immense talent to a wider public, boasts 24-bit newly remastered sound and the complete and lively interview with the composer conducted by Glenn Watkins. Conductor David Zinman’s close collaboration with Rouse ensured that the introspective Symphony No. 1 (with its references to Bruckner and Shostakovich) and the highly surreal Phantasmata triptych received maximum voice.

Tirol Concerto, Passages
Dennis Russell Davies (piano) 
Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Orange Mountain 

Philip Glass’ Tirol Concerto for Piano and Orchestra was commissioned by the Tyrol, Austria Tourist Board and had its world premiere at the Tyrol Festival “Klangspuren” in Jenbach, in  2000. While staying in Tyrol, Glass studied sound documents and sheet music of Tyrolese folk-music.  In his Tirol Concerto, played here by conductor/pianist Dennis Russell Davies and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra,  This disc also features selections from Passages, Glass's collaboration with Indian Sitar master Ravi Shankar,  as arranged by  Davies.

Rachmaninov Transcriptions, Corelli Variations

Olga Kern was awarded the Gold Medal at the Eleventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2001 - the first woman to garner that honor in over thirty years.  On her new release Olga Kern performs a dazzling program of Rachmaninov’s piano transcriptions of of music by Bach, Bizet, Kreisler, Mendelssohn, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Schubert and Tchaikovsky, his Corelli Variations, and the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 — with Rachmaninov’s own cadenza, transcribed from his recordings. 

Belshazzar's Feast
 Composer:  William Walton
Performers:  Purves, Lindley, Daniel

Sir William Walton's  Belshazzar's Feast, composed in 1930-31, is the finest British choral work since Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, although it is far more "modern."  Scored for baritone, choir and orchestra Belshazzar is a compact work lasting just under 45 minutes. It recounts the Biblical story of the downfall of the proud Belshazzar, King of Babylon whose doom is foretold by a ghostly hand writing the chilling prophecy on the wall during a banquet. Walton's dazzling and often times startling music is gripping from the first bar to the last. 

Letter to Warsaw 
Jane Eaglen, soprano / Mina Miller, piano / Music of Remembrance / Gerard Schwarz, conductor 

 American composer Thomas Pasatieri created this powerful song cycle, setting six texts by poet/cabaret artist Pola Braun, who wrote these texts while in the Warsaw Ghetto and in the Majdanek concentration camp, where she perished in 1943.  The  poems bear poignant, painful witness to the disruption, forced disintegration and, finally, destruction of daily life of every Jew in Poland in World War II.  Pasatieri is best known for his many film orchestrations including Road to Perdition, Finding Nemo, and Angels in America.  Here,  he takes full advantage  of Jane Eaglen's glorious voice and his orchestrations reveal a composer of considerable depth.

Violin Concertos
Composers:  Sibelius, Khachaturian
Performers:  Sinfonia Varsovia,
Emmanuel Krivine
Naive (Naxos)

18-year-old Armenian wunderkind tosses off the Sibelius with a dazzling display of sheer virtuosity and delivers a much deeper, more sober reading of his fellow countryman's bouncy  masterpiece than we are accustomed to hearing.  Eye-opening performance and a performer to watch.


Symphony No. 10
Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich 
Kurt Sanderling (conductor)
Orchestre National de France
Naive (Naxos)

Re-issue of an inspired 1978 
performance of the symphony many consider Shostakovich's best by conductor Kurt Sanderling with the Orchestre national de France. Composed immediately following Stalin's death and premiered on 17 December 1953, this massive work seems to sum up the experience of the Soviet people under the dictator's tyranny,  especially in the terrifying Allegro which evokes a machine that grinds men down, before a more optimistic finale that the composer conceived in the spirit of Haydn.

Seven: A Suite for Orchestra
Composer:  Tony Banks
Performer:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Mike Dixon 

Tony Banks, founder of the rock band Genesis, goes "classical"  with this seven-movement suite, each of them an orchestral sound picture using its title to set the mood.  The result is an extremely well-recorded bag of ambiant musical noodles that are less frivelous than they might have been and, in any event, less painful to the ears  than listening to Phil Collins sing.

Symphony No. 3 Op. 39. 
Symphony No. 4 Op. 42
Composer: Herman D. Koppel
Conductor: Moshe Atzmon,
Aalborg Symphony Orchestra 
Da Capo [Naxos] 

During the German occupation of Denmark in World War II,  Herman D. Koppel, who was Jewish, and his family had to flee to Sweden, where they met a childhood friend of Koppel who had become a baroness. In her house Koppel could compose in peace and quiet. The Third Symphony is dedicated to her.  Despite his own safe surroundings, Koppel’s experience of the war, and of the execution of his Polish-Jewish family in German concentration camps, had a profound impact on his works from this period.  These are works of anguish that explore the depths of the composer's emotions--a final liberation from the bloodless influence of his teacher Carl Neilsen--and the birth of major, overlooked 20th century music figure.

Die Jakobsleiter
Composer: Arnold Schoenberg, Henschel, Meier, Nagano
Harmonia Mundi 

One of many important large-scale fragments left uncompleted by Schoenberg at his death, the oratorio Jacob's Ladder was finished by Winfried Zillig, once a student, at the behest of Schoenberg's widow after his death.  Schoenberg wrote the libretto between 1915 and 1917 based on the book of Genesis, overlaid with elements from Strindberg's drama Jacob Wrestles, and Balzac's novel Seraphita. He wrote a large of chunk of the music shortly after but was called to the army and never got around to finishing it.  This is a brilliant, committed performance that captures a little-known masterpiece by one of the 20th century's greatest composers at the height of his creative powers.

Composer:  Poul Rovsing Olsen
Performer(s): Inderhaug, Byriel, Rorholm, Veto
Da Capo [Naxos]

When composing his music for Belisa, Poul Rovsing Olsen was deeply inspired by Spanish poet Federico García Lorca's drama and by the passionate and demanding character of Belisa herself. The opening scene of the opera is the wedding night of Belisa and Don Perlimplin, where the young bride takes 5 lovers in front of her decrepit groom that is sound asleep. The drama develops from stylized opera buffa into the ambiguous and surreal with an unexpected ending, and Poul Rovsing Olsen's music reflects Lorca’s drama like a sensuous kaleidoscope with French and Oriental overtones. 

Swales and Angels
Composer: Beth Anderson
Conductor: Gary M. Schneider
Performer: Rubio String Quartet, Jessica Marsten (soprano), et al.
New World Records 

Beth Anderson's unabashedly romantic "swales" are as pure as a Kentucky mountain spring,  frisky as a new-born colt rolling in bluegrass, and infectious as a third-grade measles outbreak.  They are light, without being lightweight, and conquer the ear by their deceptively easygoing charm.  If you like Paul Schoenfeld's brand of Americana, you'll like these pieces a lot.

New Music With Guitar, Volume Six
Composers:  Various
Performer:  David Starobin
Bridge Records

No one has done more to champion guitar music by contemporary composers than the brilliant guitarist and co-founder of Bridge Records, David Starobin.  This CD includes solo and chamber works written between 1992 and 2000  by Gunther Schuller, Michael Starobin, Richard Wernick, Melinda Wagner, David Liptak, and Paul Lansky--all in premiere recordings. Volume Six also contains George Crumb's "Mundus Canis"--with the composer performing (and whispering and yelling) on percussion. To conclude the disc, Elliott Carter's fantastically inventive sextet, "Luimen" is performed by Speculum Musicae, New York City's virtuoso new music band.

 11 Studies for 11 Players: Piano Concerto
Composer:  Ned Rorem
Performer(s): , Lowenthal, Mester, Louisville Orchestra
First Edition

Rorem ages well and a recent spate of re-releases of his early chamber and orchestral works demonstrate that he is a good deal more than simply a master of art songs.  Like most of Rorem's work, 11 Studies is distinctly more European than American and recall Berio's marvelous Sequenzas. 

Piano Concerto. Concerto for two pianos. Piano Sonata
Composer:  Arthur Bliss
Performers: . Peter Donohoe, Martin Roscoe (pianos), Royal Scottish National Orchestra, David Lloyd-Jones (conductor). Naxos

The piano concerto is rip-snorting, full-blooded, heavy breathing romantism of the Rachmaninov variety played with over-the-top virtuosity by the nimble Peter Donohoe.  Listening to it makes you want to invade Russia.

Symphony No.1, 'Jeremiah'. Jubilee Games
Composer:  Leonard Bernstein
Performers: Helen Medlyn (mezzo), Nathan Gunn (baritone), New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, James Judd (conductor). Naxos 

Young Bernstein, filled with piss and vinegar and more musical ideas per page than any eight of his contemporaries.  A joy to listen to a genius in the process of finding his compositional voice.

Organ and Silence
Composer: Tom Johnson
Performer:  Wesley Roberts, organ

A collection of 28 organ pieces to be played separately or as a long recital A music concerned for, as the author writes in the disc notes, "… the importance of silence in music…". This work is conceived not "for organ" but, really, for "organ and silence", as the silence is a fundamental part of it, and it’s not possible to give it up. It’s an attempt, as the author explain " to permit as much silence as possible, without allowing the music to actually stop".  Tom Johnson is one of the masters of minimalism, but he combines this with rigorous logic. His work, free from false glitters, defines, better that any other one, the sense of a research the goes beyond the strict genre definitions, and become poetic application of original ideas.

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