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In 2002 Jeffrey
Jacob was named Artist of the Year by the International New Music
Consortium at New York University for his activities as composer, pianist
and educator. Jacob received his education From the Juilliard School
(Master of Music) and the Peabody Conservator (Doctorate).
His music has been
performed and recorded in numerous avenues on three continenn Among
significant performances, Raymond Leppard and the Indianapolis Symphony
premiered his Symphony: Winter Lightning. The St. Petersburg and Moscow
Symphonies premiered respectively his Piano Concertos I and II with
the composer as soloist. His Persistence of Memory was premiered by
the Cleveland Chamber Symphony at the 1999 College Music Society National
Convention, and was selected by the Charles Ives Center for American
Music for a performance by the Charleston Symphony at the 2002 Charleston
Spoleto Festival. Other works have been premiered and recorded by the
Orquesta de Baja California, the Chamber Orchestra of the Rhein, the
North Czech Philharmonic, the Cavani Quartet and sopranos Laurel Thomas
and Mary Nessinger. Future performances include new works for the Portland
Symphony and the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra. The first compact disc
collection of his orchestral music appeared on Centaur, and individual
works apped on several labels induding Albany, Vienna Modern Masters,
and New Ariel.
As a pianist, Jacob
counts as his principal teachers, Mieczyslaw Munz, Carlo Zecchi, and
Leon Fleisher. Since his debut with the London Philharmonic in Royal
Festival Hall, he has appeared as piano soloist with over 20 orchestras
internationally including the Moscow, St. Petersburg, Seattle, Portland
(ME), Indianapolis, Charleston, Sao Paulo and Brazil National Symphonies,
the Silesian, Moravian, North Czech, and Royal Queenstown Philharmonics.
A noted proponent of contemporary music, he has performed the world
premieres of works written for him by George Crumb, Vincent Persichetti,
Gunner Schuller, Samuel Adler, Francis Routh, and many others. He has
performed solo recitals in London, Dublin, Glasgow, Berlin, Cologne,
Munich, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Prague, Warsaw, Bucharest, Milan, Madrid,
Helsinki, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Havana, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo,
Sydney, Auckland, Toronto, Ottawa, and throughout the U.S.
Jeffrey Jacob has
recorded over 50 works for solo piano and piano and orchestra including
his critically acclaimed series of CDs of the complete piano music of
Samuel Barber and George Crumb and major works of Béla Bartók.
Fanfare magazine recently devoted a Feature article to his series of
CDs For New Ariel Recordings entitled "Contemporary American Eclectic
Music for the Piano. Additionally, he has made radio recordings
for Radio Warsaw, Radio Prague, and Brazil National Radio, as well as
a series of recordings of American music for the BBC. He is currently
Artist-in-Residence and Professor of Music at Saint Marys College
in South Bend, Indiana.
For two pianos and orchestra was written in the winter and spring of
2002 and was premiered in June of that year in Prague by the Hradec
Kralove Philharmonic conducted by Jon Mitchell The work is dedicated
to the children of the Middle East. Jacob writes, On one particular
day in early 2002, I read of the deaths of two small children, one Israeli,
one Palestinian, victims of Middle East violence. I wanted to write
a meditative, thoughtful work in their honor, a piece without harshness
and rhetoric but simple commemoration and love.
The work consists
of three contrasting movements: Elegy, Childrens
Games, and Legacy. The opening movement begins with
a complex contrapuntal sonority falling gradually, inexorably, and punctuated
by the lowest notes on the piano. The following cadenza presents a wall
of A-minor sound penetrated by short, declamatory melodic motives. Another
contrapuntal section, this one exploiting wind instruments and pianos,
proceeds from mystery through turbulence to resolution. Finally, in
an evocative recapitulation of the opening, the pianos become music
boxes; their mechanically precise, upper register motives first accompany
and later perform the original string melodies.
The second movement,
entitled Childrens Games and subtitled After
the Bruegel Painting, is a glittering scherzo. Wind, percussion,
and piano motives convey energy, vitality, and grace. As in a number
of Jacob scores, repeated melodic motives eventually recede into the
background and become accompanyment patterns for new melodic material.
The contrasting B or Trio section features gently
syncopated jazz rhythms in the pianos.
The Final movement opens with a long, freely expressive passage for solo cello. After turbulent sections for pianos and winds, the coda of the first movement, with pianos again functioning as music boxes, brings the work to a dignified close.
Margaret Lucy Wilkins'works explore spatial element and music theatre, displaying a strong dramatic, gestural and visual approach to sound. Sonic architecture is a feature of her musical aesthetic.
Born in England in 1939, Margaret Lucy Wilkins' musical career embraces composing, lecturing and performing. She has conducted 20th century music, and has performed on a variety of mediaeval instruments with the Scottish Early Music Consort, with whom she played in many concerts and broadcasts. Between 1976 and 2003, she was Principal Lecturer in Music at the University of Huddersfield, UK, where she was Head of Composition.
Margaret Lucy Wilkins has been composing since the age of twelve, when she won a Junior Exhibition to attend Trinity College of Music, London. Later, she read Music at Nottingham University, UK, where she gained the B.Mus. (Hons.) and A.Mus.D.
There have been many commissions and broadcasts of her works. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a Scottish Arts Council Award for Composers (1970), Hinrichsen Foundation Award for Composers (1979) and Arts Council of Great Britain Bursary for Composers (1981-82). Prizes include The New Cantata Orchestra of London Competition for Young British Composers (1970), the Cappiani Prize for Women Composers (1971) and the Miriam Gideon International Prize (2000).
Performances of her music have been given in most European countries, the USA and Canada. Festival performances include Edinburgh International (Scotland), Durham International (UK), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), Middelburg (The Netherlands), ISCM World Music Days (Poland and Slovenia), Musica Nova: Sofia (Bulgaria), Donne in Musica (Italy) and the International New Music Week, Bucharest (Romania).
Margaret Lucy Wilkins' compositions range from orchestral music, through chamber music and works for soloists, to electroacoustic music. Notable amongst her orchestral Works are Hymn to Creation (1973), Music of the Spheres (BBC commission, 1976), Relevations of the Seven Angels (1988, a 50-minute work for over 100 performers divided into eight groups, designed for performance in a large cathedral space) Symphony (1989), Musica Angelorum (Goldberg commission, 1991) and Rituelle for 27 brass, wind and percussion players (2000).
Chamber music works include Struwwelpeter (1973), Burnt Sienna: Etude for String Trio (1974), Ave Maria (New Music Group of Scotland commission, 1975), Aspects of Night John Turner commission, 1981), Gitanjali (William Byrd Singers commission, 1981), Reve, Réveil, Revelation, Reverberations (1988), Trompettes de Mort (Philip Mead commission, 2002).
Amongst Margaret Lucy Wilkins' electroacoustic works are Stringsing and L'Attente (commissioned by choreographer, Julie Wilson, 1992, 1994) and Discover Oakwell (a long-running sound installation commissioned by Oakwell Hall, 1995, with funds from Kirklees Metropolitan Council and the European Commission). In 1999, this project won a Sandford Award for Heritage Education. In 1990, she composed RIVAL, a 90-minute multi-media work for c.75 musicians, actors, dancers and electroacoustic music, which was performed at the 1992 ISCM 'World Music Days' in Poland.
As an advocate of new music, Margaret Lucy Wilkins has directed many performances including works by Igor Stravinsky, Anton Webern, Hanna Kulenty, Olivier Messiaen, Michael Nyman, Joan Tower, Jennifer Fowler, Rebecca Saunders, Mihaela Vosganian, Luminita Spinu and Karlheinz Stockhausen.
In the service of composers, Margaret Lucy Wilkins has been elected to the Executive Committee of the Composers' Guild of.Great Britain, the Council of the Society for the Promotion of New Music, the Honour Committee of Donne in Musica (Italy) and Board of Directors for the International Alliance of Women composers (headquarters in USA).
Free Spirit, a portrait CD of music by Margaret Lucy Wilkins, was released in 2003.
This major work, composed in 1988, has had to wait long for its first performance, which was given in Romania in 2000 by the Orchestra Simfonica Timisoara, conducted by Barrie Webb.
The work is intended for performance in a cathedral, or other large space, and calls for the forces of a symphony orchestra, choir (divided into two groups of low voices only and high voices only), solo soprano and string quartet.
The starting point for the work is taken from The Book of Revelations. In the Bible, the Seven Angels of The Book of Revelations represent plagues and pestilence heralding the demise of the World. However, in this work, this pessimistic foreboding has been replaced by other metaphysical states characteristic of the human experience. The result is an imaginary spiritual and aural journey by the Seven Angels to Seven Stations:
Alpha: The Beginning
The mystical number 7 has correspondences with the Seven Stations of the Cross (as in mediaeval Christian theology) or with the fourteen Stations of the Cross, in that, in this work, each Station has a dual role.
The Seven Stations are represented by groups of instrumentalists and singers placed at various locations within the space. The Seven Angels, represented by four trumpets and three trombones, are mobile and move from one Station to the next. The audience, seated in the middle, has the experience of hearing the music gradually travel from the starting point (the West Door) via various side chapels, etc. to the Altar area. Sometimes the music comes from one point, at others from several positions, and towards the end (Omega), the audience is completely surrounded by singing and playing. It is an idea transferred from the experience of electroacoustic music (though this work is entirely acoustic) in that sound emanating from speakers ranged around the performance area is translated into groups of musicians seated at various locations. From the more distant past, it's a development of the chori spezzati of the 16th century Italian church composers.
In terms of conception, forces involved, duration and spatial deployment, this work is on a large scale. It is intended as a 'public' piece. This factor, as well as the particular acoustic quality associated with cathedrals, has determined the musical language. It is accessible, yet adventurous, and has a spacious harmonic foundation. The harmonic fields have been carefully chosen and the pitch centres for each station form an almost symmetrical series.
Similarly, a temporal series has been employed which ensures that the work gradually accelerates, over a period of c. 50 minutes, in a symmetrical fashion, to twice the initial speed. Within these controls it was possible to compose intuitively, using the subject of each Station to suggest the particular emotive material.
Two other factors are important throughout, namely the use of the number 7 and the idea of bells. The number 7 is employed at the micro- and macro-rhythmic levels, echoing the function of the large, medium and small arches which underpin the structure of medieval cathedrals. The idea of bells, obviously associated with cathedrals, is used both rhythmically in the collision and divergence of several temporal strands, and harmonically in the clashing of two or more pitch centres.
Born in Vienna,
Austria in 1953, MAXIMILLAN KREUZ studied composition with Augustin
Kubizek, Francis Burt and Friedrich Cerha at the University for Music
and the Performing Arts in Vienna. His music has been heard in Moscow,
St. Petersburg, Budapest, Prague, Bratislava, Paris, Meudon, Ville d'Avray,
London, Huddersfield, Berlin, Essen, Köln, Bonn, Luzern, Rome,
Florence, New York, Toronto, Seoul, and Taipei, as well as in the important
cities of Austria Vienna, Salzburg, Linz, und Graz. His compositional
emphasis is on music in the large forms, and he has composed many works
for orchestra. Recipient of numerous international commissions, he also
has many works recorded on compact disc. A leader in the presentation
of new music in Austria and abroad, he assumed direction of Projekt
Urauffiihrung/Creativcs Centrum Wien in 1980. This series of almost
230 concerts has presented more than 1000 new works by 270 different
No. 3, Wv.45c was premiered in 2001 by the Vienna Chamber Orchestra
with Alexander Liebreich conducting. Scored for chamber orchestra, the
one-movement work is in six sections. For a number of years the composer
has concerned himself with a new kind of chromatic tonality, which in
this piece determines the harmonic language. In contrast to traditional
music, certain procedures arise which, although themselves new, are
grounded in the historically familiar principle of searching for and
finding goals or sometimes even letting the path itself appear as the
goal. Extension of the sound space to twelve tones through chromaticism
gives the composer access to musical characteristics varying from a
light and playful Allegretto to a heavyweight symphonic Moderato.
Born in New York City in 1956, DAVID FETHEROLF studied at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts and received the MFA degree from the Purchase (NY) College Conservatory of Music. His music has been premiered at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and played throughout the USA, Europe, and Central and South America. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Music Center and the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation. In addition to his work as Editor and Project Manager, New Music, for G. Schirmer, Inc., Mr. Fetherolf has lectured extensively to young people on the aesthetics and philosophy of 20th century music. This is his fourth recording with the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna Modern Masters. His previous recordings include: Concerto for Violoncello (VMM 3031), Hush'd be the Camps To-Day (VMM 3039), and Poem for Violin and Orchestra (VMM 3049).
EL DIA DE LOS MUERTOS was commissioned by the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation of Mamaroneck, New York, for the Mamaroneck High School Orchestra and Chorus and was premiered by the school's students in two concerts on March 2, 2000. My inspiration for th work was the Mexican festival, The Day of the Dead. Since one of the main purposes of this project was to involve students from outside the music department, I asked the English a Second Language classes, few of whose students are actually of Mexican origin, to write texts for me. Two poems from among the many wonderful ones submitted have been used, as well as some text and a chant from the November 1st feast day in the Liber Usualis. Also heard are some melodic lines from a Mass by Tomas Luis de Vittoria which serve as counterpoint to the Spanish texts and festival music. What interested me most in constructing the piece was the juxtaposition of the Catholic celebration with the indigenous one.
In one movement, this 20-minute symphonic poem is in four distinct parts: 1. Dawn, 11. Through the Day, III. Llegan la Noche y las Almas, and IV Till Dawn. The chant from the Liber Usualis is first heard in the opening section sung by the tenor and bass. It is developed throughout the second section until the entrance of La Muerte Viene, a soprano line from the Vittoria Mass harmonized with sub-harmonics. This leads through a short bridge passage into the setting of Llegan la Nochey las Almas, a polymodal motet. The polymodality then dissipates into a final cadence in d minor. The fourth section begins quietly, slowly building up to a rhythmically intense climax that crashes down into an extended monophonic coda built on the original chant.
This work is dedicated to the memory of Peter Van Riper, a musician, composer, and sound installation artist who died in 1998. Many thanks are due to Patricia Wheelhouse, Alex Romanov, Tim Hooker, Lunetta Knowlton, and the other faculty, students, and parents of Mamaroneck High School, Mamaroneck, NY, USA who helped bring this project to fruition. ESL students who provided text include Christian Franco, Karla Franco, Beatriz Lucero, Dennis Magana, Elida Magana, Libny Maldonado, Criscian Maldonado, Evelyn Marmalejo, Rokki Naroaka, Reiko Moto, Keila Nunez, and Limni Velasquez.
Tsippi Fleischer (b. 1946, Israel)
Fleischer's creative output embraces a period of more than thirty years during which her works have gained her a great deal of international recognition. She was awarded the Acum Prize (Israel Composers and Publishers) for her life's achievement; the Prime Minister's Prize on the occasion of Israel's 50th anniversary; the Unesco-Paris (Rostrum) Prize for Composition (The Gown of Night and In the Mountains of Armenia); the Acum Prize for the Encouragement of Composition (the cantata Like Two Branches); Israel's Public Council for Culture and Art Prize (Oratorio 1492-1992); awards and prizes of the governments of Finland, the United States and Germany, amongst others. Her compositions appear on compact discs of Opus One (U.S.A.), Vienna Modern Masters (Austria), and Aulos (Germany).
Tsippi Fleischer was born in Haifa. She studied piano and theory formally at the Rubin Conservatory of Music, Haifa, and matriculated from Haifa's Reali School in the oriental stream. Her academic degrees include: BMus in Theory, Composition and Conducting - the Rubin Academy of Music, Jerusalem; BA in Hebrew Language, Arabic Language, Literature and History of the Middle East - Tel Aviv University; Music Teacher's Diploma - the Levinsky College for Higher Education, Tel Aviv; MA in Music Education - New York University; MA in Semitic Linguistics - Tel Aviv University; PhD in Musicology - Bar lian University, Israel. Her doctoral thesis focused on historical research into the origins of Cherubini's Medee, and on an in-depth analysis, using a combination of Heinrich Schenker's and Jan LaRue's analytical methods.
Fleischer is one
of the most active contributors to the
After having been immersed in the connection between east and west in her compositional oeuvre - in a variety of genres - Tsippi Fleischer is now devoting her energy to the clarification of her philosophical and spiritual ideas through the medium of large-dimensional works - operas and symphonies. In October 2002 the world premiere of the opera Cain and Abel was presented (in a combined production of the International Biennale for Contemporary Music at the Tel Aviv Museum and the Festival of Israeli Music at the Jerusalem Theatre). At the moment she is completing her chamber opera Victoria (after Sami Michael's novel about the life of Jews in Iraq), and is planning to write more symphonies and a Grand Opera in Akkadian.
In addition to the
above, she is currently putting together two albums of smaller compositions,
to appear after the present CD; the first is documentary, the second,
introspective. The documentary CD is a representative collection of
the many performances and interpretations of the song-cycle Girl-Butterfly-Girl
in a number of languages and in many different versions. The double
introspective album to appear later will allow for a perspective of
the spiritual and musical approach from which, since the end of the
90s, Fleischer has fashioned dramatic vocal compositions to texts by
poets such as Paul Verlaine, Else Lasker-Schüler, Dan Pagis, Uri-Zvi
Grinberg, Pinhas Sadeh and Avot Yeshurun.
The work was commissioned for its world premiere by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. The Vienna Modern Masters label initiated its production even earlier. Symphony No. V was performed and recorded by the Moravian Philharmonic. The shofar players from the "Renanot" Institute of Jerusalem joined the dominant magnetic tape with versions of the Hebrew prayer Kol Nidrei (the richness of sources of oriental cantorial singing is apparent), and the voice of the pioneer of Israeli rock - the well-known artist Shalom Hanoch, who repeats over and over "ken, hamatsav kasheh" - yes, the situation is difficult.
Of the five symphonies, this is the most ethnic in flavor.
process lasted for two full years, from May 2002 until May 2004, with
the "sectional catharsis" involving sophisticated studios
of various sorts in Israel and overseas, work in Jerusalem with the
group of shofar players, as well as a stay in residence for the formation
of the orchestral draft at "Keshet Eilon" in the western Galilee.
As regards the orchestration:
the world of pitch explores and is related to the qualities of the cantorial
resonances, while the textures are designed mainly from riffs producing
elements of sound and from long contrapuntal lines- together achieving
the desired atmosphere.
was born in Tokyo in 1952. As a child, he began private lessons in violin
and piano in his home, then later studied composition at the Kunitachi
Music Senior High School in Tokyo. After graduating, he continued studies
in composition (1971 - 75) and organ (1975 - 77) at the Kunitachi College
of Music. He is presently Associate Professor of Music at the Nagoya
University of the Arts and a member of the Japan Society for Contemporary
FRAGMENT II for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano (1989) was composed at the same time as Fragment I, which appears on my first VMM CD (VMM 2011). Both works have the same structure, though several parts of Fragment II have been revised for this recording. Generally, this work has three parts: slow-fast-slow. Like echoes resounding, the piano responds to the violin's melody, and gradually a high passage on the cello emerges as a motif. From here, the intervals of a major second and an augmented fourth dominate the music. During the developement of Fragment II, many musical themes appear, but the cello motif remains prominent. In the middle of the work, the first violin melody emerges again, and the cello motif is repeated just before the end of the piece.
DAVID LOEB- YEARNING FOR AUTUMN
As with my two previous collections in this series, Echoes from Bronze Bells (VMM 2029) and Imagined Landscapes (VMM 2033), the compositions included on this disc span nearly twenty years and represent a variety of compositional interests. Equally important, the recordings include many performers with whom I have enjoyed long years of working together. These musicians have played some of the music before (often many times) and have also collaborated on other pieces, often equally challenging ones.
By way of background, I was born in 1939, not far from New York City, into an artistic and musical family. I attended the Marines College of Music in New York, studying composition with Peter Pindar Stearns. After brief periods of study elsewhere, I began to teach at Marines in 1964, and have remained there ever since, additionally teaching parttime at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. The year 1964 also brought two opportunifies which have become lifetime commitments: composing for early instruments (especially for viols) and composing for East Asian instruments (mostly Japanese). Inevitably these activities have influenced compositions in more conventional media, in some cases quite intentionally, but more often they arise from a sense of complete case within different traditions separated widely in time and space
At least in part because of these involvements, I remained largely unaffected by the peculiar succession of stylistic preoccupations which characterize much late twentiethcentury music (serialism, electronics, minimalism). If I have arrived at an individual style or means of expression, this has not occurred through any passionate search for originality, but rather through intensive study of whatever music seemed most interesting and moving, regardless of its period or country of origin.
SEIYA (A CALM NIGHT) is a setting of an adaption of a poem by Ryokan, a famous poet active around 1800. Although he was Japanese, he wrote poetry as kanshi, in essence writing in Chinese. However, oral renderings of the poems, even at that time, would have used Japanese pronunciation, as I have done. The poem opens with a most typical Chinese image of a solitary man walking out from his modest home into a mountain valley to play his qin. However the narration takes on a surrealistic Japanese twist when we learn that the qin has no strings! Thus the combination of the text with a Chinese instrument and a traditional Japanese mode of singing seems entirely appropriate, despite the likely possibility the poet was merely following a traditional Chinese setting, without having ever actually heard the qin.
ANDORRAN FANTASY (1970, 1998) originated as a very short movement in a set for viola da gamba and harpsichord (the performers had stipulated a minimum of six movements and a maximum duration of eight minutes!). Although it seemed to work in that setting, I envisioned greater possibilities in an expanded context. An attempt to realize this in a piano work clearly did not succeed, and only many years later, during a vacation in Andorra, did I return to the challenge, this time fortifying myself with the resources of a very large orchestra.
Piano Music of David Loeb Played by Ishmael Wallace Composer's Commentary
Since none of my previous anthologies include any solo piano music, this disc hopefully remedies that neglect. The album title reflects the fact that all four compositions draw upon musical or artistic traditions, distant both temporally and geographically. Ishmael Wallace seems a singularly appropriate choice for this collaboration; we share 'antiquarian' interests, and as a composer himself he brings compositional insights to his interpretations. Most of the pieces - Edo Revisited, The Twilight Bell and some of the Fantasias on East Asian Modes - were composed for him. He has performed all of these pieces, some quite often.
By way of background, I was born in 1939, near New York, into an artistic and musical family. I attended the Mannes College of Music in New York, studying with Peter Pindar Steams; after that I studied various aspects of Japanese music with Shinichi Yuize. In 1964 I returned to Mannes to teach and have remained there ever since, also teaching part-time at the Curtis Institute of Music for many years. Although I have always taken particular interest in composing for Asian instruments, especially Japanese, and for early Western instruments, especially viols, (sometimes together), this did not cause me to neglect more conventional instruments or media.
Ishmael Wallace was born in 1971 and grew up in New Hampshire and Ithaca, NY. He studied at Curtis and Mannes, where his piano teachers included Edward Aldwell, Richard Goode, and Gilbert Kalish. His composition teachers included Robert Cuckson, David Loeb, and Stephens Stucky. In addition to solo playing, he often performs with his violinist sister, Vita Wallace, as the Orfeo Duo. Their recordings include the complete violin and piano sonatas of Schumann, works by Enescu, Pfitzner, and Walter, an album of works by young composers (which they produced themselves and distributed free), and two compositions by David Loeb included in ECHOES FROM BRONZE BELLS (VMM 2029) and YEARNING FOR AUTUMN (VMM 2035). His own compositions include two chamber operas; five orchestral works; a large amount of solo, chamber, and vocal pieces; and a set of pieces for Japanese flute.
on East Asian Modes, composed between 1977 and 2001, arose from
a most unlikely circumstance. A pianist had requested a piece for a
tour of the Far East (about thirty appearances in seven countries),
specifically asking for music based on 'the Asian scale'. Since the
major-minor scale system has formed the basis of nearly all Western
music for more than five centuries, it seems quite logical to assume
that a single scale encompassing the traditions of the East Asian countries
should exist, but in actuality each country possesses its own unique
scales and practices. If I had said that no such scale exists, I might
very well have lost the opportunity, so I simply agreed to the stipulation,
mumbling something like "I'll find some way to do this," although
at the moment I had no idea how.
MYERS has had a varied musical career including as woodwind recitalist,
big band leader, performer and arranger, music educator, and conductor.
Born in Illinois in 1927, he studied clarinet, saxophone, and flute,
later earning the BS degree from Northern Illinois University, the MA
from California State University at Fresno, and the DMA from the Peabody
Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. An ASCAP award-winning composer,
he has written for orchestra, band, chorus, and chamber groups, with
performances, recordings, and publications of his works throughout the
USA, Canada, and Europe. Now Professor Emeritus of Composition and Theory
at Towson University (Maryland), he is active as a free-lance composer
and arranger. Concertino for Orchestra (VMM 3017), Configuration (VMM
3018), Symphony 1969 (VMM 3019), Elegy (VMM 3030), Cadenza and Lament
(VMM 3034), and Fanfare For. A New Millennium (VMM 3048) also appear
in Vienna Modern Masters' MUSIC FROM SIX CONTINENTS series.
FANFARE FOR A NEW MILLENNIUM was written for the Susquehanna (Maryland) Symphony Orchestra and was premiered under their Music Director Sheldon Bair. The piece combines by title, tune and, text, characteristics of faith, love and respect for all mankind, and undiminishing pride in one's country. It incorporates material fram Praise For Peace, (Integer Vitae), Old Hundredth (The Doxology), Harvest Home, Now Thank We All Our God, and America, the Beautiful. A short fantasy on America, the Beautiful carries the piece to a chorale-type statement of Praise for Peace. This is presented by the brasses as a background for a collage-like treatment of Now Thank We All Our God in the upper woodwinds. The Doxology is heard in a less related tonality in the glockenspiel and harp, and Harvest Home, also fragmented and tonally displaced, appears in the low strings and woodwinds. Continued variation on America, the Beautiful brings the FANFARE to a climactic close.
MARGARET SHELTON MEIER's compositions, which have been performed throughout the USA and in Bulgaria and England, are in many genres: orchestral works, choral pieces, art songs, chamber music, opera, and piano and organ solos. She has received numerous awards, including an ASCAP Standard Award (1999-2000), and nine awards from the Music Teachers' Association of California. She received her Bachelor of Music Degree From the Eastman School of Music and her Ph.D. From the University of California at Los Angeles. Her orchestral compositions The Dawning and Claremont Symphony have been recorded by the Ruse (Bulgaria) Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Tsanko Delibozov, and appear on Vienna Modern Masters CDs, VMM 3037 and VMM 3042. She has taught at a number of universities in California's two university systems and is currently a Faculiy member in music at Mt. San Antonio College.
MASS FOR THE THIRD MILLENNIUM gives new expression to the ancient Christian texts of worship, contrition, hope, praise and peace. In the opening Kyrie, images of solemn singing in ancient cathedrals are evoked by chant-like melodies and open fifths. The middle section increases in rhythmic and dynamic intense, then the music returns to its opening calm. The joyous major and minor chords of the Gloria represent an oasis of peace among the many dissonances, musical and non-musical, of our present world. The extended text of the Agnus Dei evokes a variety of moods; its opening and closing lines ascend, expressing hope and praise. The words to this prayer are similar to those of the Kyrie, but they are in Latin rather than Greek. As in the Kyrie and Sanctus, the number three is important: there are three statements of Agnus Dei, varied only in the closing words, which are a prayer for peace. The music is gentle and poignant, a cry from the heart. Both the Gloria and the Agnus Dei vary a repeated chord progression, in the style of a chaconne. In Sanctus the Fifths of the Kyrie, overlapping for a more dissonant sound, create excitement, as the threefold "holy, holy, holy" swells to a climax in the opening statement. This is followed by a playfully contrapuntal Pleni sunt coeli and a dramatic Hosanna. Echoes of the Kyrie are heard in the Benedictus.
Margaret Shelton Meier
The compositions of AARON RABUSHKA include chamber music, concertos, orchestral works, and vocal music. A native of St. Louis, he received two degrees from Indiana University, where he studied counterpoint with Bernhard Heiden, a decisive experience in his development as a composer. He then lived and worked fn Central Missouri for 15 years, where he was active in radio as a classical music program producer and producer of the weekly Spectrum of Jewish Music, a series he founded. He now resides in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1993 he produced recordings of a dozen of his compositions in collaboration with the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic in Zlin. Several of these are now available on Vienna Modem Masters compact discs.
CONCERTO VOCALE is based on Psalm 126 (125 in the Cacholic Psalter), a dreaming and powerful poem that looks to past and future happiness from a not-so-happy present. Its structure evolved intuitively, guided by the text of the Psalm. The tide CONCERTO VOCALE derives from the vocal concertos of the Baroque Era in which the interactions of individual voices and instruments expressed and expanded the meaning of the text. The soprano soloist sings the Psalm's text from the Targum Onkelos, one of the Aramaic translations of the Bible. The instruments respond to her declamations, with flute and violin being prominendy featured as soloists.
SONJA GROSSNER was born in the UK, where she received her earliest musical training. A holiday trip to Dresden in 1960 turned into a permanent stay in the former East Germany, and she subsequently studied violin and composition at the Carl Maria von Weber Hochschule Für Musik in Dresden, then worked as both a music teacher and violinist in the Freiberg Theatre Orchestra and at the Dresden Operetta Theatre. Following her return to the UK in 1984, she continued her work as an instrumental tutor. In 1995 she completed an MA course in composition at De Montfort University, studying with Gavin Bryars. She is now working towards the PhD at Birmingham Conservatoire. Her career in composition has brought her much acclaim in recent years.
DESTINY was written in October-November, 1998. It is a dramatic and exciting piece in Four sections. The main theme, introduced in the first section, is a twelve-tone row representing the twelve months of the year. It is repeated in different ways, not only rhythmic, but also in mirror reflection and as a semi-quaver mauve. A quaver motive represents the beat of the human heart. The title DESTINY seemed appropriate for this idea. Although the work has a dramatic character, it should also convey the attitude that determination and resolution can determine one's destiny. The third section dissolves into a dramatic rhythmic conversation between percussion and strings, before returning to the opening material. The piece ends with the calling of trumpets and trombones.
DON WALKER was born in California in 1941 and attended Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, where he received the Ph.D. in composition in 1971. While a graduate student at the latter school, he received the University's Prix de Paris in Musical Composition (1966-1968). He has taught at Sonoma State University in California, the University of South Florida and Oregon State University and is now Project Archivist for the Dave Brubeck Papers at the University of the Pacific. He has composed five symphonies, two operas, many works for wind and string ensembles, ten piano sonatas and much vocal music. His style varies greatly from work to work, and he often borrows material and procedures from jazz, and ethnic and popular music, Freely mixing consonance with dissonance and tunefulness with abstraction.
TOPOLOBAMPO is the third movement of my Fifth Symphony, composed in 1999. It is named after Topolobampo, Mexico, a small commercial city on the Sea of Correz, humble and unambitious, like an empty Coke bottle by the side of the road. Here life runs its gamut in many parameters, and in this modest musical evocation of the city, "life" is expressed in gamuts of pitch, dynamics, attack density, duration, register and timbre.
Born in the United
States and now living permanently in Vienna, Austria, Nancy Van de
Vate is known worldwide for her music in the large forms. Her full-length
opera, All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Westen nichts Neues) was premiered
in Osnabrück, Germany in 2003 and performed there ten times to
great critical acclaim. The same work was included in May 2003 by the
New York City Opera in its VOX 2003: Showcasing American Opera series,
again to critical acclaim. In January 2005 her new chamber opera, Where
the Cross is Made, based on the play by Eugene O'Neill, was selected
by the National Opera Association (USA) as winner of its biennial competition
for new chamber operas and a shortened version was introduced in New
York City, with a full production following in January 2006 at the 51st
annual convention of the National Opera Association in Ann Arbor, MI.
The opera's world premiere was presented by Illinois State University
in September 2005.
NEMO: JENSEITS VON VULKANIA was commissioned in the autumn of 1990 by arts patron John Uihlein of Baden-Baden, Germany and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and his long-time friend, Allen Cortés, author of the original libretto. Both John Uihlein and Allen Cortés knew the traditional operatic repertoire extremely well and in conceiving the libretto for NEMO, Mr. Cortés was influenced by summer productions he had seen on the lake stage at Bregenz, Austria. The composer and her husband, Clyde Smith, president of Vienna Modern Masters, met in Bregenz with John Uihlein and Allen Cortés in 1990 and 1991 to gather ideas for the possible staging of NEMO: JENSEITS VON VULKANIA.
NEMO was meant by the librettist to be a happy opera, one with elements of romance, adventure and fantasy. Mr. Cortes wanted the audience "to go home whistling the tunes." The composer, having worked for more than a year with the unremittingly somber, tragic material of her opera in three acts, "All Quiet on the Western Front," was pleased to begin a contrasting work, one with a happy ending. While the music for NEMO is contemporary in style, it is always lyric and accessible.
In December 1991
Mr. Cortés withdrew from the project, and the composer completed
the opera alone during the next three years, extensively revising the
libretto and reducing its original length. Although neither John Uihlein
nor Clyde Smith lived to hear the finished work, its realization would
not have been possible without John Uihlein's original assistance and
Clyde Smith's unflagging encouragement and help. Copying of the score
was assisted by a generous gift from Gerald Morgan of Midlothian, Virginia
and grants from the Austrian Ministry for the Arts. The composer is
also indebted to producer Tony Converse of New York for his invaluable
advice on restructuring the libretto.
Jeremy BECK, born in 1960, holds degrees in composition from Yale University, Duke University and the Mannes College of Music. He has received awards and fellowships from the American Composers Orchestra, American Music Center, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Millay Colony for the Arts, Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Wellesley Composers Conference, Oregon Bach Festival, American Music Center and the American Council of Teachers of Russian. He has published articles and reviews in Notes, Essays in American Music, and ComposerUSA, and has taught at the University of Northern Iowa, Chatham College, St. Petersburg Conservatory and Herzen University (St. Petersburg, Russia) and the Kopeyia-Bloomfield School (Ghana). His music may also be heard on the ERM, Capstone, heng hau, and Living Artist labels. Dr. Beck is an Associate Professor of Music at California State University-Fullerton.
SPARKS, AND FLAME (ASH) was composed in 1996-97 for the Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra’s 1997 tour of Russia. The piece is in the character of an overture, and opens with “sparks” – brief, sputtering gestures which are centered around a D pedal-point. Later, this pedal-point becomes much more rhythmically active, while the “sparks” which fly around it gradually form a chord progression, shaped by a three-note motive. All of these elements are transformed over the course of the piece and intermittently build to climactic points or, metaphorically, “burst into flame.” Many of these climactic moments are centered around F, as a nod towards the old relative relationship between D and F in functional tonality. Towards the end of the piece, there is a brief interlude, presented initially as a horn duet. The music here is marked “with nostalgia.” I was imagining the feeling one sometimes gets late at night, while staring into the shifting flames and sparks of a fire. Within this more pensive material, I have used the D-S-C-H motive (which Shostakovich introduced throughout much of his music) as a gentle greeting for the Russian audiences who would hear this in Moscow and St. Petersburg. After the interlude, SPARKS, AND FLAME (ASH) builds back to a high point, before quietly and quickly “burning itself out to ashes.”
Born in New York City in 1956, DAVID FETHEROLF studied music composition and theory at the Longy School of Music and received his MFA from the Purchase, NY College Conservatory of Music. In addition to his large works, Mr. Fetherolf writes educational pieces of varying difficulty and enjoys writing chamber and solo works. His music has been played in the US, Europe, and Central and South America. In 1999-2000 he is composer-in-Residence for Mamaroneck High School in Westchester County, NY. His year-long project there will culminate in the March 2000 premiere of his fourth symphonic poem, El Dia de los Muertos, commissioned by the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation. This is his third recording on the VMM label: Concerto for Violoncello appears on VMM 3031 and his memorial tone poem to Yitzach Rabin, Hush 'd be the Camps To-day, on VMM 3039.
POEM FOR VIOLIN
AND ORCHESTRA, completed in 1996 is a fantasy in two movements.
In the opening short section, con molto sentimentino daffecto,
the soloists line describes through a long arc the interval of
a perfect fourth, while the orchestra prepares the ear for the polytonality
of an F# major triad against a B minor triad, then a C major triad against
an augmented D chord. The music moves quickly into an animato section
in which all the intervals outlined by these clashes play a role. It
ends with the soloist on the seventh of an orchestral Bb major chord
heard against the upper third of an F minor chord.
I was born in 1939, near New York, into an artistic and musical family. I studied with Peter Pindar Stearns at the Mannes College of Music in New York, afterwards studying traditional Japanese music with Shinichi Yuize. In 1964 I returned to Mannes to teach and have remained there ever since, also teaching part-time at the Curtis Institute of Music for many years. Although for more than forty years I have taken particular interest in composing for Asian instruments, especially Japanese, and for early instruments, especially viols, this has not caused any neglect of more conventional instruments or media. Of course unaccompanied music for the bass clarinet may not fit the image which most people have of a conventional medium.
little resembles Western quintets for a keyboard or wind instruments
with string quartet. The sho (a Japanese mouth organ) normally appears
in Imperial Court music, mostly playing successions of pentatonic chords
which blend wlth melodies played by wind instruments. It sometimes plays
this role here, but at other times the melody itself, in some instances
accompanied by viols playing chords resembling those of the sho. Occassionally
the sho participates equally with the viols in various contrapuntal
textures. The techniques and sound qualities of the viols allow them
to combine very well with traditional Japanese instruments, perhaps
more effective than modern strings do.
David Loeb with Henri Bok
Henry Bok was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in 1950. He has devoted his life to the bass clarinet, inspired in his youth by the great Eric Dolphy. He has promoted the bass clarinet and its repertoire for more than 25 years, both as a performer and as a teacher. Since 1981 he has held the position of Professor of Bass Clarinet at the Rotterdam (Superior) Conservatory, where the unique bass clarinet program attracts students from all over the world.
Henri Bok has invented unusual but very effective duo combinations: Duo Contemporain (with percussion), Duo Novair (with accordion), Bass Instincts (with bass oboe), and the Duo Clarones (with bass clarinet). He has recorded more than 20 compact discs, has written articles for many important music journals, and is the author of the standard reference text: "New Techniques for the Bass Clarinet." He plays a Selmer bass clarinet with a Pomarico mouthpiece, a BG "Tradition" ligature, a Luis Rossi wooden bell, and Marca reeds.
began in 1982, with a duo for bass clarinet and vibraphone. Eventually
I wrote duos for all of his groups and Het Nieuwe Madrigaalboek (recorded
on "Echoes from Bronze Bells," the first of my VMM anthologies)
for the Nederlands Klarinet Kwartet, of which Henri Bok was a founding
member. Later came five concerti for diverse combinations, a quintet
with strings, a sonata with piano, and ensemble pieces (multiple bass
clarinets) for his students. About half of these arose from his requests,
and the others from my own iniative, always encouraged and stimulated
by frequent and outstanding performances.
Sonata No. 5 (2003) arguably comes closest to the traditional sonata organization. It makes more use of 'extended techniques' than the earlier sonatas (although very modest by recent standards), but in each instance only for a clearly audible purpose. Thus the tremolo in the first movement helps to distinguish a contrasting theme from what came before. A single slaptongue at the end of the second movement establishes an unexpected ending as quietly as possible. The harmonics at the end of the third movement serve as an echo, even quieter than the same three notes heard softly at the outset. In the last movement, pairs of slaptongue notes introduce fugal entrances of a version of the opening theme. A brief fluttertongue passage heralds the inversion of that subject. At the very end of the movement the slaptongue idea returns, followed by key clacks, allowing the movement to drift off even more quietly and mysteriously than it began.