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  April 28-May 5, 2003

First Edition Recordings 
Back in Circulation 
For many of us who grew up in the sticks, our first exposure to American classical music—perhaps any classical music—
came through library copies of the Louisville Orchestra’s remarkable First Edition series of recordings.  Founded in 1937, the Louisville Orchestra made an indelible impact on 
Variazioni [1959] 
  Echoes of Time and the River (Echoes II) [1967] 
Remembrance of Time 
III. Collapse of Time / Last Echoes of Time 
Concerto No. 7 for Orchestra, Opus 116 [1953] 
  Symphony No. 15, Opus 199, "Silver Pilgrimage" [1963] 
  Magnificat for Four Solo Voices, Chorus and Orchestra,
Opus 157 [1957] 
contemporary music when it began to commission new works from the world's most renowned composers including Britten, Copland, Kodaly, and Lutoslawski, in 1948. In 1953, a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation enabled the orchestra to begin recording many of these works on its First Edition imprint. Over the next two decades, the orchestra recorded more 
than 250 new pieces. 
A number of these recordings made the transition to CD in collaboration with the Albany label. 

Now, thanks to Matt Walters, a former Smithsonian Folkways label executive who is managing director of the Santa Fe Music Group, having acquired the exclusive rights to the 

Tournaments Overture (1965) 
Elegy (1965) 
 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1968) 
 Gazebo Dances 
Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 3 (1954) 
 Ongaku for Orchestra (1957) 
 Symphony No. 11,
“Seven Rituals of Music” (1954)   (Symphony No. 15) (1961) 
First Edition archives last year, the venerable catalog is coming back into circulation.

Underwritten in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and Copland Fund grants, Walters has begun the lengthy process of remastering the original recordings in 24-bit, high-definition compatible digital sound. Each release will feature new liner notes and rare, unpublished photos

Exclusively distributed by Los Angeles- based Harmonia Mundi, the initial four releases, devoted to music by John Corigliano, Henry Cowell, George Crumb, and Alan Hovhaness, are now back in circulation.

Howard Scott, a legendary Columbia Masterworks producer who supervised many of the original First Edition sessions, has been involved as a consultant in the label's rebirth. 

The plan is for First Edition to release approximately a dozen discs per year. Most releases will be devoted to music by a single composer, which is true of all four initial releases as well as pending issues dedicated to music by Roy Harris,  Karel Husa, Wallingford Reigger and Walter Piston. 

The label will also offer a handful of thematic compilations, including a disc of orchestral variations composed by Copland, Ives, Carter, and Dallapiccola.

What's Recent

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
Three Tales at BAM
Naxos at 15
On the Transmigration of Souls
Dead Man Walking
David Krakauer's The Year After
Steve Reich/Alan Pierson

Our writers welcome your comments on their pieces.  Send your witty bon mots to jbowles@sequenza21.com and we might even publish some of them here.  And, don't forget--if you'd like to write for Sequenza21 (understanding that we have no money to pay you), send me a note. JB

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, NY, NY 10019  Also, feel free to nominate your favorite composer-- even if it's you--for Spotlight of the Week.
Hear Before You Play - Website Auditions New Music So you're an American orchestra looking for contemporary music to play. But it can be frustrating hunting down and auditioning scores. So the American Music Center has created NewMusicJukeBox. "The site offers access to audio recordings, downloadable music scores, and information on new music artists. Its creators describe it as an online marketplace where producers, performers, orchestra administrators, concert programmers, movie directors, choreographers, students, and audience members can easily hear music 24/7 by American composers." NEA.gov 04/24/03 

New Jersey's Strad Problem - Who Gets To Play Them? The New Jersey Symphony is the recipient of an amazing bounty - 30 violins from the Italian Golden Age - including 12 Strads. "The collection makes its official debut Saturday , when guests at a fund-raiser charging $2,500 per ticket will hear the instruments played at the historic railroad terminal hall at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. As the date nears, a new dilemma arises: In the midst of such bounty, who gets to play one, and who doesn't?" Newark Star-Ledger 04/21/03 

The Video Orchestra This fall the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra will mount video screens on either side of its stage. The video presentations will accompany all of the orchestra's "Musically Speaking concerts. "The screens will be used to show live close-ups of the conductor and soloists. With wall-to-wall dreamscape visuals accompanied by an atmospheric soundtrack, the VSO's experiment will venture beyond the live footage to include a visual script with images of featured composers and the people and places that inspired them." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 04/24/03 

Pachelbel And The Gang - Is This Really The Most Popular Music? Is it really possible that Brits' taste in classical music is as bad as the annual Classic FM hit parade vote would indicate? "Is it really possible, I wonder, that millions of Brits really believe that Howard Shore’s music for 'The Lord of the Rings' is the greatest piece of classical music of all time? And will I have to listen, yet again, to Rachmaninov’s super-saccharine Piano Concerto No 2, in C minor (that’s the music from 'Brief Encounter')?" The Scotsman 04/24/03 

It's Piazzolla Time "Although often vilified in his lifetime, in the years since he died in 1992, the Argentinian musician Astor Piazzolla, who invented what he called "new tango", has become lauded by increasing numbers in the classical world as one of the greatest contemporary composers of the last century." The Telegraph (UK) 04/20/03 

Life In The Old CD Yet... The compact disc is 20 years old. And two new enhanced CD formats introduced in 1999 offer big improvements in the sound of a CD. Question is - will consumers catch on and want them? Chicago Tribune 04/20/03 

How Music Was Born In America "The saga of American music in the 19th century is a tale of outsized personalities, showdowns and rampant can-doism. The American myth has much to do with raising yourself by your own bootstraps, and that is what American music did in the 19th century: beginning with mostly amateur fiddlers, fifers and bawling congregations, ending with some of the best orchestras and opera houses anywhere." The Guardian (UK) 04/25/03 

In-House Orchestra Recording Riles Labels As major recording labels backed off recording orchestras, some of the orchestras began producing their own discs. They've done okay, but "these homegrown labels are not a development that the majors’ classics division chiefs particularly welcome. EMI Classics, indeed, has become so riled by LSO Live that they have stopped hiring the London Symphony Orchestra for their own recording projects." The Times (UK) 04/22/03 

Beethoven 9 For Sale Beethoven's Ninth Symphony could be the world's most famous piece of music. "Next month, when it is auctioned at Sotheby's, a copyist's manuscript of the work, replete with Beethoven's last scribbled revisions, is expected to fetch more than any manuscript of classical music has done before. If the ninth symphony is the most powerful symbol of absolute music in the classical music canon, it is also the most politicised work of all time." The Economist 04/24/03 

Course Correction - Are We Making Music Too Perfect? According to industry insiders, many successful mainstream artists in most genres of music - perhaps a majority of artists - are using pitch correction. Now some in the music industry think the focus on perfection has gone too far. "Vocal tuning is contributing to the Milli Vanilli-fication of modern music. What a singer sounds like has always been manipulated and massaged by producers: The difference nowadays is that it is so easy to do - maybe too easy. 'Pro Tools is the industry Frankenstein that's taken over. Everything has to be exact, and I blame engineers and producers. It's been overdone'." Chicago Tribune 04/27/03 

 Last Week's News
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Caught in the Act
Paul Stouffer:  Still Making
Memorable Melodies At 87
by Deborah Kravetz

This session of Princeton's Salon 33 was devoted to instrumental and vocal 
works by Lansdowne, Pennsylvania's 87-year-old composer, Paul Stouffer, and 
opened with Scherzo Buffone performed by John Winsor, clarinet, and 
Jeannette Winsor, piano. This piece exhibits the whimsicality of the clown 
through the clarinet's unique sonorities and varying tempi, part of which 
is a dreamy waltz set between two march-like passages.

Lazy Summer Suite is a sweet set of four piano pieces composed in the early 
90's that opens with an old-fashioned waltz reminiscent of a century 
earlier and earnest little girls practicing the piano, as it is dedicated 
to the composer's granddaughter. Besides this, there is a hint of the kinds 
of " mistakes" children make that drive mothers crazy during practice—
overall, unabashedly romantic, and the kind of piece I can picture myself 
playing in a long gauzy white dress. Jeannette Winsor continued with 
Carillion , which has the bell-tone chords one would expect as they make 
their stately progression through the piece, although in the second section 
they accompany a high right hand ornamentation.

Idle Chatter was written for trio with John Winsor, clarinet, Paul Fejko, 
piano, and featured Veronica Mascaro on flute. This is a sprightly 6/8 
tempo with alternating rising scales for flute and clarinet; the scales 
vary and permute as they develop the opening theme of this extremely brief 

The world premiere of My Musical Friends for soprano Melissa Perry 
accompanied by Hugh Kronrot, is a song set dedicated to animals in amusing 
situations that arose from voice exercises to lyrics by voice student and 
poet Sandra Falconer: I'm Only a Vocal Tadpole sings with the lark while 
waiting to be a frog who can sing; the Anteater is trying to get his mouth 
into the right position to sing a high E; the Bat Flew over the Keyboard 
late one night after getting disoriented in a storm and needs the pianist's 
help to get his radar re-tuned; the Seahorse and the Solfeggio is an 
undersea song with chords reminiscent of Debussy's Cathedral Engloute in 
its accompaniment, singing solfeggio in glorious and joyful phrases; and
Raccoon Blues is a real jagged rag that recalls heroes of old—like 
Mahalia, Willy and Waller and Ella Fitzgerald—all in proper art-song 
style, of course, with intricate piano accompaniment.

After a light and fluffy first half, the second part of the program is more 
serious, opening with the world premiere of A Caribbean Letter to a poem by 
Barbara Howells recalling a past love, and scored for marimba, Paul Fejko, 
flute, Veronica Mascaro, string bass, Rob Cerullo and mezzo soprano Lois 
Babbitt. Marimba shimmers and flute sets palms swaying in a tropical 
setting that languidly moves along in response to changing breezes and 
rolling waves.

Mobile for Clarinet and Piano was commissioned in 1963 by the Delaware 
Festival of the Arts and is performed by the Winsors. This is the most 
"modern" sounding piece on the program, the first section slow and the 
second section for repaid clarinet in a style that would not be out of 
place in the Scherzo Buffone , as the composer clearly has a comic sense of 
this instrument.

Sonates No. I and II were written in 1995 for piano performed by Jeannette 
Winsor, and alternate low unison with rapid high repetition that gradually 
integrate in the center with a steady left hand and melody in the right, 
and then reverse. The second sonata recalls the bell chords heard in 
Carillion , and introduces an ascending theme that makes its way back down 
the keyboard and ends with alternating high and low chords.

The final piece on the program was Lament and Scherzo for flute, Veronica 
Mascaro, and piano, Paul Fejko. This was originally composed for flute and 
harp, but the composer says he "never found a harpist that didn't want a
fortune to play," so he re-scored the piece for piano. Yet the harp 
sonorities and echoes remain in the piano part of single separated notes 
and strummed chords under a smoothly flowing flute melody that becomes a 
bouncing hornpipe and then an ornamented version of the melody, to 
cheerfully close the program.

The Music of Paul Stouffer
SALON 33 @ Princeton, NJ
April 12, 2003
(Reposted from Penn Sounds 4/21/03)

NWEAMO 2003: The Exploding Interactive Inevitable 
October 3-5, 2003: Portland, Oregon (B-Complex) October 10-12, 2003: 
(San Diego State University) 

Miller Theatre: 
2002-03 Season at a Glance

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

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

             EDITORS PICKS - April 2003 
Composer: Arvo Part 
Performers: Tonus Peregrinus/Antony Pitts, director

Arvo Part’s Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John is widely regarded as one of the most significant choral works of the 20th century. Born in Estonia in 1935, Part studied at the Tallinn Conservatoire, his early compositions strongly influenced by Russian music from the Shostakovich era. Thirty years ago, he began to embrace polyphonic forms linked with Gregorian chant.  Passio echos the earliest American minimalism, with short melodic and rhythmic patterns repeated to form a more extensive narrative.   The British-based vocal ensemble, Tonus Peregrinus performs solidly.  Another great bargain from Naxos

Requiem and other Sacred Music
Composer: John Rutter:
Performers: Choir of Clare College, Cambridge / Timothy Brown, director

John Rutter's gentle Requiem, written in 1985, was composed with a special affection for choral sound. If you prefer the quiet requiem of Fauré to the bombastic requiem of  Verdi, you will love Rutter's work, created from a personal selection of texts, some from the Requiem Mass and others from the l662 Book of Common Prayer.



Uirapurú, Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4, The Emperor Jones (Premiere Recording)
Composer:  Heitor Villa-Lobos
Performers: Odense Symphony Orchestra, Jan Wagner, conductor

 For years, Villa-Lobos was regarded by many as a minor composer who wrote terrific little pieces for the guitar.  Not anymore.  A veritable explosion of recordings of orchestral works shows Villa-Lobos to have been one of the 20th century’s giants.  These vibrant performances of some of the less recorded Villa-Lobos works are a jaw-dropping revelation of music at its most romantic and sublime. 

Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 17
Symphony No. 22, Op. 236, "City of Light"
Composer: Alan Hovhaness
Performers:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Starker, Davis
A premiere of Hovhaness’s 1936 Concerto for Orchestra and a return to print from a previous Delos release of the City of Light Symphony, conducted by the composer himself.  Hovhaness was a pioneer of that East/West fusion that has become part of the common currency of contemporary music and his music is neither as easy to love as detractors claim nor as profound as adherents would have it.  Like Martinu, Hovhaness wrote a lot of music and virtually all of it is of a high quality.  Nothing wrong with that. 

Untaming the Fury
New American Music for Guitar and Violin
Summit Records  SMT-346
As  Duo46, guitarist Matt Gould and violinist  Beth Ilana Schneider  make exciting music together. On this CD, they work their magic on ten pieces specially commissioned from composers who are not household names yet--but all of whom display great potential. Gould and Schneider are polished players who imbue these short works with a full-range of emotional context.


Baltic Voices 1
Composers: Arvo Pärt, Einojuhani Rautavaara, et al.
Conductor: Paul Hillier
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
Harmonia Mundi Franc - #907311
Paul Hillier leads the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in Volume 1 of Baltic Voices — a three-year project to explore the choral riches of the Baltic Sea countries. With a special attention to the choir’s native Estonia, these recordings will highlight the mainstream tradition of the past hundred years, complemented with music of earlier periods and commissions from younger composers. Volume 1 features haunting secular and sacred works by 20th-century composers Cyrillus Kreek, Arvo Pärt, Einojuhani Rautavaara,  Sven-David Sandstrøm, Peteris Vasks, and Veljo Tormis.  Cool, ethereal, other worldly music from a hot bed of great contemporary composers.

Awakening at the Inn of the Birds, etc.
 Composer: Michael Byron
 Performers: FLUX Quartet, Sarah Cahill, Joseph Kubera, and Kathy Supove
Cold Blue Music CB0012
Michael Byron blends  minimalist and maximalist techniques and rigorous processes with freely composed music to create works that range from the hynotic to the boisterous.  Continents of City and Love and Tidal, written 20 years apart, are both arch-form pieces scored for two pianos, synthesizer, string quartet, and doublebass. This new CD collects four of Byron’s very recent works and a new recording of a piece from 1981, all performed by some of today’s most-respected new-music champions, including Sarah Cahill and Joseph Kubera on pianos, Kathleen Supové on synthesizer, and the FLUX Quartet.

Level 7 
Composer: Evan Ziporyn, et al. 
Performer: The Robin Cox Ensemble
The Robin Cox Ensemble is a unique new music group that combines violin, cello, percussion, and live electronics to create vivid performances of new music. In its first three years, this quartet with a one-of-a-kind instrumentation has already staged more forty performances and collaborated with many prominent choreographers and composers, including on this--the group's second CD--the marvelous Evan Ziporyn. 

Orchestral Works 4
Composer: Krzysztof Penderecki
Peformers: Chee-Yun, violin; Wit, 
Polish Nat'l Rso,  Naxos 
The two violin concertos presented here are from the 1970s when Penderecki returned from strict modernism to more traditional modes of composition. The first concerto dates from 1977, and was written for Isaac Stern, its solo writing containing prodigious technical difficulties. The second is not much easier but both violinists on this CD produce lively, impressive accounts.

Albert Herring
Composer: Benjamin Britten
 Performer: Bedford, Northern Sinfonia
 Naxos - 
In which young Albert Herring, the May King (apparently no female virgin could be found to serve as Queen) is taken into hand by the lovers  Sid and Nancy, fortified with rum, and treated to a night on the town where he does--or does not--lose his virtue.  Wonderful, gay comedy and beautifully sung.

Complete Orchestral Works 3
Composer: John Carbon
Conductor: Vladimir Valek, Marin Alsop, et al.
Mmc Records - #2120 
Recent recordings of Carbon's dazzling Violin Concerto, performed by Violinist Peter Zazofsky with Gerhardt Zimmermann conducting the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra; also a marvelous reading by Richard Stoltzman of Carbon's Clarinet Concerto, and Notturno for Trumpet, Harp, and Strings, performed by Gerard Schwarz (with Jeff Silberschlag on trumpet) and the Seattle Symphony.  Valuable recording of an unjustly neglected composer.

Works for Wind Band 3 
Composer: John Philip Sousa
Performer(s): Brion, Royal Artillery Band
Born in Washington DC on 6 November, 1854, the father of American march music was the son of a trombonist with the United States Marine Band and a true prodigy.  He began music lessons at age six and by the age of eleven he organized and led his own ‘quadrille orchestra’. The rest of his orchestra consisted of seven grown men and quickly became a popular dance orchestra in the Washington area. At the age of 25, he was chosen to become Director of the United States Marine Band in Washington. He began leading the Marine Band in January 1880, beginning a fabled 52 year career as a bandmaster. 

Left to His Own Devices
Composer:  Eric Chasalow
 New World Records - #80601 
 Eric Chasalow is Professor of Composition, and Director of BEAMS, the Brandeis Electro-Acoustic Music Studio. Two of the seven electro-acoustic works on this disc--Left to His Own Devices and Suspicious Motives--pay homage to his Columbia-Princeton mentors; the former is built from vocal samples of Milton Babbitt and the sound of the RCA synthesizer while the latter incorporates two motives from Davidovsky’s music—primarily the opening to Synchronisms #6. 
Notable also are two purely acoustic chamber pieces, In the Works and Yes, I Really Did, which reveal a consistency of vision across both musical frontiers.

Concierto De Aranjuez / Fantasia Para Gentilhombre
Composer Joaquin Rodrigo
Performers:  Socias, Pons, Orquesta Ciudad Granada
Harmonia Mundi Franc - #901764
A superb recording of one of the best-known pieces of music of the 20th century.  Finished in 1939, the Concierto de Aranjuez made Rodrigo famous overnight. It is presented here with its ideal coupling, the Fantasía para un gentilhombre, along with two much more rarely performed works. The performers here, all of them Spanish, bring an authentically Iberian coloring to these sunny, romantic works.


Etudes Books I & II
Composer: Gyorgy Ligeti
Performer: Idil Biret, piano
Naxos - #8555777
Ligeti wrote this series of fifteen studies over a period of ten years beginning in the 1980s and the result is  one of its great masterworks of the keyboard. Not for the timid, these pieces take the pianist's skill to levels that border on the impossible.  Idil Biret meets the challenges head-on and delivers an extraordinary performance.  Highly recommended.

An Hour Out of Desert Center
Composer: Chas Smith 
Cold Blue Music CB0013
Chas Smith is a composer, inventor, instrument builder, and performer from the Harry Partch tradition who creates his own musical world, complete with its own instruments he makes himself or finds. as well as a "language" His is a  world of carefully sculpted textures that never sit absolutely still, textures that evolve and are always in the process of a slow change of aural perspective. Critics have frequently compared Smith’s sometimes beautiful, sometimes brooding compositions to those of Ligeti. The three pieces on this new recording feature the composer performing on pedal steel guitars, composer-designed-and-built crotales and sound sculptures, zithers, and a 1948 Bigsby lap guitar.

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