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United States Music


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kyjo
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« Reply #75 on: April 22, 2013, 07:45:36 pm »

Many thanks, Holger, for the Lukas Foss Symphony No.2 Smiley

Ditto!
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« Reply #76 on: April 23, 2013, 04:45:27 pm »

Music of Ernst Bacon


From the collection of Karl Miller



Symphonies of Ernst Bacon
Tracks 1-4:  Symphony 2
San Jose Symphony
George Cleve, Conductor
Date unknown.
Symphony No. 2 (Americana), orchestra (1937; fp. 1940) [Syracuse: arrangement for 2 pianos, 1936]
    - Smoky Mountain Scherzo, orchestra (1937) ["Interlude and diversion"] -2nd mvt from "Sym No. 2]


Tracks 5-15:  Symphony #3 “The Great River”
Ken Bowles, Narrator
Syracuse Symphony Orchestra
Karl Kritz, Conductor
20 November, 1961

Great River, A Symphony for Narrator & Orchestra (Sym #3) (1956; fp. 1957) [text: Horgan; episodes in the course and  history of the Rio Grande]
Preface
I. A River Created
II. The Peaks Colorado
III. Pastoral Valleys
IV. Desert and Canyon
V. Mexico Bay (The Gulf)
VI. A Pueblo Dance Prayer
VII. An Indian Death
VIII. Spanish Soldiers before Battle (New Mexico 1599)
IX. Mountain Man (Toas 1820-1830)
X. Soldiers by Firelight (Texas 1846) [narrator only?]
XI. The Honey-Eaters
XII. American Visions



Orchestral Music of Ernst Bacon
1.  Spoken introduction
2-12: From These States
Syracuse Symphony Orchestra
Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Conductor
November 17 or 18, 1997

From These States  (Review posted at Ernst Bacon Society)
Performed by the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra with Conductor Emeritus Kazuyoshi Akyama at Crouse-Hinds Concert Theatre, Syracuse, NY on November 17 and 18, 1997.
The set of 11 miniature movements, totaling about 20 minutes in length, is a cunningly orchestrated work that captures a variety of moods through the use of melodies with modal flavors, and snappy, syncopated rhythmic accompaniments.
...Bacon's settings are unpretentious: simplicity dominates, and the result is an uncomplicated, yet refreshing, array of tunes that charm the ear.
-- David Abrams, The Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY, November 22, 1997

From These States, "Gathered Along Unpaved Roads", a suite (11 mvts), orchestra (fp. 1946; pub. 1951) [1943?]
- Laying the rails (a sledge hammer song)
- Source of the Tennessee
 - The sunless pines
    - The Saluda barn dance
    - The cliff dwellers (no ancient cliffs, these)
    - Wizard oil
    - Storm over Huron
    - Lullaby to a sick child
    - Polly's murder
    - Hickory gap
    - The Timberline express


13-23: Riolama (Piano Concerto 1)
Riolama (10 Places for Piano and Orchestra)
A series of tone paintings of places, real and imagined
Ernst Bacon, Piano
Syracuse Symphony Orchestra
Karl Krtiz, Conductor
Jan 18, 1963

I Salem, Mass. --
II The Chama River (N.M.) --
III Creede, Colo. --
IV Nantahala, N.C. --
V Ruwenzori --
VI Gnaw --BBne, Ind. --
VII Gaspé --VIII Nicasio Valley (Calif.) --
IX Riolama --
X Pico Perdido.


24-27:  Piano Concerto No. 2
Piano Concerto No. 2 (1982)
Julie Steinberg, Piano
Berkeley Symphony Orchestra
Kent Nagano, Conductor



All recordings are either from radio broadcasts or personal recordings, and have not been commercially released.

Note- The Ernst Bacon Society has an excellent (and current) web site at: http://www.ernstbacon.org

Wikipedia Bio

Ernst Lecher Bacon (May 26, 1898 – March 16, 1990) was an American composer, pianist, and conductor. A prolific author, Bacon composed over 250 songs over his career. He was awarded three Guggenheim Fellowships and a Pulitzer Scholarship in 1932 for his Second Symphony.

Ernst Bacon was born in Chicago, Illinois, on May 26, 1898 to Maria von Rosthorn Bacon (sister of Alfons von Rosthorn and Arthur von Rosthorn) and Dr. Charles S. Bacon. At the age of 19, Bacon was enrolled at Northwestern University where he pursued a degree in mathematics. After three years of study, he moved to the University of Chicago. Bacon finished his education at the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a master's degree for the composition of The Song of the Preacher in 1935. His teachers there included Ernest Bloch (composition), Alexander Raab (piano), and Eugene Goossens (conducting).

At the age of 19, Bacon wrote a complex treatise entitled "Our Musical Idiom," which explored all possible harmonies. However, when he began to compose music in his 20s, he rejected a purely cerebral approach. He took the position that music is an art, not a science, and that its source should be human and imaginative, rather than abstract and analytical.

Bacon was self-taught in composition, except for two years of study with Karl Weigl in Vienna, Austria. Experiencing the depression of post-war Europe first hand, he understood that the avant-garde movement reflected the pessimism of its origins. Bacon set out instead to write music that expressed the vitality and affirmation of his own country. Sometimes compared with Béla Bartók, Bacon incorporated into his music the history and folklore, as well as the indigenous music, poetry, folksongs, jazz rhythms, and the very landscape of America.

As with Franz Schubert, a large body of more than 250 art songs is at the heart of an oeuvre that also includes numerous chamber, orchestral, and choral works. According to Marshall Bialosky, Ernst Bacon was "one of the first composers to discover Emily Dickinson... and set a great number of her poems into some of the finest art song music, if not actually the very finest, of any American composer in our history." He was deeply drawn by Walt Whitman's amplitude of vision, as well as by the poignant economy of Dickinson. Other poets with whom he felt an affinity included Carl Sandburg (who was a personal friend), Blake, Emily Brontë, Teasdale, and Housman.

In addition to his musical and literary composition, Bacon held a number of positions that took him across the country. From 1925-28, Bacon was an opera coach at the Eastman School of Music. In 1928 Bacon traveled from New York to California to take up a position at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he served until 1930. In 1935, Bacon was the guest conductor at the first Carmel Bach Festival in California. A year later he was supervising the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Music Project and conducting the San Francisco Symphony. From 1938-45, he was dean and professor of piano at Converse College, Spartanburg SC. From 1945-47 he was director of the school of music, then from 1947-63 he was professor and composer in residence at Syracuse University. He was professor emeritus from 1964. He continued to compose almost to the day he died, on March 16, 1990 in Orinda, California






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« Reply #77 on: April 23, 2013, 06:09:20 pm »

Please pass on our heartfelt thanks to Karl Miller for these works by Ernst Bacon Smiley Smiley
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kyjo
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« Reply #78 on: April 23, 2013, 07:54:48 pm »

 Smiley Smiley Smiley
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« Reply #79 on: April 24, 2013, 03:15:08 am »

I never dreamed that I would be able to hear the Bacon Symphonies or the Piano Concertos Smiley

Amazing Smiley
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« Reply #80 on: April 24, 2013, 03:16:24 am »

Many, many thanks for these marvelous rarities!
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« Reply #81 on: April 24, 2013, 03:08:31 pm »

Music of Samuel Adler


Tracks 1-3: Symphony No. 1
Tracks 4-6: Symphony No. 2 (Premiere, Feb. 1958)

Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Walter Hendl, Conducter

From the collection of Karl Miller
Never commercially released.


Track 7:  Symphony No. 4 "Geometrics" (1967)
Track 8: Concerto for Organ and Orchestra (1971)

Aalborg Symphony Orchestra with James Freeman conductor.
LP Source:  ARIES LP 1619 (1970s)
Sound captured from YouTube post by Robt007

Notes and Information:

From what I've gathered, symphonies 3 and 5 are available commercially, but symphonies 1,2, and 6 have never been commercially recorded.  Symphony 2 is fantastic, and this omission is, in my book, a criminal offense.

There is a very interesting interview with Adler here, where, among other things, he professes not to understand his own music.
http://www.bruceduffie.com/adler.html

Finally, here is the current Wikipedia Bio for Adler:

Samuel Hans Adler (born March 4, 1928) is an American composer and conductor.

Biography
Adler was born to a Jewish family in Mannheim, Germany, the son of Hugo Chaim Adler, a cantor and composer, and Selma Adler. The family fled to the United States in 1939, where Hugo became the cantor of Temple Emanuel in Worcester, Massachusetts. Sam followed his father into the music profession, earning degrees from Boston University and Harvard University (where he studied with Aaron Copland, Paul Hindemith, Paul Pisk, Walter Piston, and Randall Thompson and earned an M.A. in 1950). He studied conducting with Serge Koussevitzky at Tanglewood in 1949. Adler has been awarded honorary doctorates from Southern Methodist and Wake Forest Universities, St. Mary's College of Notre Dame and the St. Louis Conservatory of Music.

While serving in the United States Army (1950–1952), Adler founded and conducted the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra. After his military service he was offered a conducting position just vacated by Leonard Bernstein on the faculty of Brandeis University but instead accepted a position as music director at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas, where the rabbi, Levi Olan, was a friend of Adler's family. Adler began his tenure in Dallas in 1953. At the Dallas temple he formed a children's choir and an adult choir and made the latter a prominent part of the religious services, often performing contemporary Jewish choral works that might otherwise have been neglected. From 1954 to 1958 Adler conducted the Dallas Lyric Theater. Adler is married to Dr. Emily Freeman-Brown of Bowling Green State University, who serves as Director of Orchestral Activities. From 1957 to 1966, Adler served as Professor of Composition at the University of North Texas College of Music. Between 1966 and 1995, Adler served as Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music Since 1997, Adler has been a member of the composition faculty at Juilliard and, for the 2009–10 year, was awarded the William Schuman Scholars Chair.

Adler has given master classes and workshops at over 300 universities worldwide, and in the summers has taught at major music festivals such as Tanglewood, Aspen, Brevard, Bowdoin, as well as others in France, Germany, Israel, Spain, Austria, Poland, South America and Korea. He is also the author of three books, Choral Conducting (Holt Reinhart and Winston 1971, second edition Schirmer Books 1985), Sight Singing (W.W. Norton 1979, 1997), and The Study of Orchestration (W.W. Norton 1982, 1989, 2001; Italian edition edited by Lorenzo Ferrero for EDT Srl Torino, 2008). He has also contributed numerous articles to major magazines, books and encyclopaedias published in the U.S. and abroad.

Awards
Adler has been awarded many prizes, including a membership into the American Academy in Berlin[1] and Institute of Arts and Letters awarded in May 2001, the Charles Ives Award, the Lillian Fairchild Award, etc. In May, 2003, he was presented with the Aaron Copland Award by ASCAP for Lifetime Achievement in Music (Composition and Teaching). In 2008 he was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. In 1999, he was elected to the Berlin Akademie der Künste in Germany for distinguished service to music. In 1983, he won the Deems Taylor Award for his book on orchestration; in 1984, he was appointed Honorary Professorial Fellow of the University College in Cardiff, Wales, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 1984–85. He has been a MacDowell Fellow for five years between 1954 and 1963. In 1986 he received the "Distinguished Alumni Award" from Boston University.

The Music Teachers' National Association selected Adler as its "Composer of the Year 1986-87" for Quintalogues, which won the national competition. In the 1988–89 year, he has been designated "Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar." In 1989, he was awarded The Eastman School's Eisenhart Award for distinguished teaching, and he has been given the honour of Composer of the Year (1991) for the American Guild of Organists. During his second visit to Chile, Adler was elected to the Chilean Academy of Fine Arts (1993) "for his outstanding contributions to the world of music as composer, conductor, and author." He was initiated as an honorary member of member of the Gamma Theta (1960, University of North Texas) and the Alpha Alpha (1966, National Honorary) chapters of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and in 1986 was named a National Arts Associate to Sigma Alpha Iota, international music fraternity for women.[2]

Works
Adler's catalogue includes over 400 published works in all media, including five operas, six symphonies, eight string quartets, at least eleven concerti (organ, piano, violin, viola or clarinet, cello, flute, guitar, saxophone quartet, woodwind quintet), many shorter orchestral works, works for wind ensemble and band, chamber music, a great deal of choral music and songs.







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« Reply #82 on: April 24, 2013, 04:53:21 pm »

Much of the thanks goes to John. He does a wonderful job with tracking down additional information and posting the pieces. I acquired the Bacon material from two sources, the widow of the composer and a Houston collector, the late David Mansfield. I still have about 1,000 reels of material from the Mansfield collection...hopefully I will live long enough to get most of it done. It takes a bit of time, cleaning tape heads, doing noise reduction and adding index points, etc. And then I have about 3,000+ tapes in my own collection!

Best wishes,

Karl
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« Reply #83 on: April 25, 2013, 03:54:32 pm »

Much of the thanks goes to John. He does a wonderful job with tracking down additional information and posting the pieces. I acquired the Bacon material from two sources, the widow of the composer and a Houston collector, the late David Mansfield. I still have about 1,000 reels of material from the Mansfield collection...hopefully I will live long enough to get most of it done. It takes a bit of time, cleaning tape heads, doing noise reduction and adding index points, etc. And then I have about 3,000+ tapes in my own collection!

Best wishes,

Karl

I'll just need to play some verbal tennis and return Karl's thanks, since I couldn't offer anything without his help.  I would hazard a guess, however, that we both take near as much joy sharing music as listening to it!
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« Reply #84 on: April 25, 2013, 03:56:08 pm »

The link for the Antheil pieces is missing.
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« Reply #85 on: April 25, 2013, 03:57:09 pm »

The link for the Antheil pieces is missing.

You are fast!  I just updated the page.
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« Reply #86 on: April 25, 2013, 04:12:33 pm »

The link for the Antheil pieces is missing.

You are fast!  I just updated the page.

Thanks Smiley

It is the Violin Concerto I am particularly interested in Smiley
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« Reply #87 on: April 25, 2013, 04:31:17 pm »

Music of George Antheil


Tracks 1-5 from the collection of Karl Miller

1. Jazz Symphony (original 1925 version)
Ivan Davis, Piano  Maurice Peress, Cond.
July 31, 1986
Venue unknown.
(the runtime for this is less than the commercial release Peress had in 1992)

2-4: Violin Concerto (Premiere -- Feb 9, 1947)

Verna Gebauer, Violin
Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Antal Dorait, Conductor

5.  Piano Concerto (No. 2)

T Hartsniker, Piano
Dutch Radio Orchestra
Lucas Vis, Conductor.
1976 (first time performed since 1927)



Track 6 is from a Youtube post by playerpianoJH, with a realization of a piano roll created  by L. Douglas Henderson .

6.  Ballet Mechanique-- Piano Roll #1 (four piano parts on a single Piano)
Date unknown. 



As best as I can determine, these are broadcast or personal recordings, and have not been commercially released in digital form.

Some additional information.



There is some confusion in the history of Antheil's Piano Concerti.  I am really enjoying the one I posted, which I gather was the 1976 performance, nearly 50 years since the disastrous premiere of the work, which was "not radical enough" for the time.   As Guy Livingston explained:

Quote
About the Concerti
Musically speaking, the First Concerto itself is a brash and enthusiastic blend of German/Polish folk music, Stravinsky, Bartok, and Antheil¹s own dissonant brand of pianistic virtuosity. Antheil¹s predilection for Eastern European rhythms and dual tonalities seems to have been precisely chosen and calibrated, even down to his quotations from the ³Russian Dances² of Petrouchka. Fascinatingly enough, there is not a trace of Antheil¹s teacher and mentor, Ernest Bloch.

The concerto is held together more by recurring motifs than by thematic development. At first it seems a glittering pastiche, almost a postmodern collage of styles. But on closer inspection, the underlying forms become apparent. The structure is solid and rigorous, the impact is carefully calculated, the piano elegantly and powerfully complements the orchestra. His virtuosity at the instrument is apparent in every phrase. However, the music seems typically schizophrenic, almost as if it were written by several authors. Antheil fluctuates in the piece between his own personal music, ¬the ³dream music² best exemplified by the Airplane Sonata¬ and the music of his hero Stravinsky. Folk influences, and the occasional jazzy or ragtime riff fill in the gaps between major themes. Nothing is developed. The initial theme is stated three times, delineating the overall structure of this solidly one-movement concerto, but each time without variation. The cadenza features another original lyrical theme with an off-beat ostinato that he does develop, and it appears in various tonalities (not traditional harmonies, but rather polytonalities) throughout the work. Two clear motifs from Petrouchka and references to Le Sacre might have surprised his contemporaries. To our postmodern ears they seem like acknowledgments; quotes from his compositional idols. Transitions are sudden and occasionally brutal, a favorite and considered trick: Antheil was definitely an angry young man. The music seems calculated to showcase the extremes of the piano.

Carelessly, Antheil labeled this (4 years later) also as Piano Concerto Number One, and dedicated it to his new wife Böski Marcus. He completed it while on a trip to her native Budapest. Originally Antheil himself was scheduled to be the pianist for the 1927 premiere in Paris, but he traveled instead to New York for the disastrous Carnegie Hall concert. In his absence, Boris Golschman performed the work, under the baton of his brother Vladimir, who would continue to champion Antheil for years. The Paris audience, accustomed to the chaos of Antheil¹s previous appearances, was disappointed by the neo-classicism of the concerto, and Virgil Thomson, usually a staunch supporter, wrote a lukewarm review. Ezra Pound was actually angry at Antheil for betraying his previous bad-boy style. In any case, Antheil¹s reputation had hit rock-bottom by late 1927. Along with many other works from this period, the Second Concerto was never published, and not performed subsequently, except for a reading in 1976, by the Dutch Radio Orchestra.

The Second Piano Concerto is more neo-classical in form, but contains the same sudden juxtapositions and abrupt contrasts of mood. In three movements, Antheil employs a more restrained but still exuberant style. The excesses of the Ballet Mécanique are compensated for by an almost spare, baroque orchestration and motifs that draw on Bach as much as on Stravinsky. The beautifully meditative slow movement is followed by a virtuosic and compelling toccata.



Some notes about the Piano Roll in Track 6:
Quote
L. Douglas Henderson (ARTCRAFT) asked me to comment on his music roll arrangement of this piece, performed in this video. He calls this work a reconstruction. He created and produced this original arrangement of the piece based on the original sheet music, and on a much earlier music roll set produced by Pleyel and rejected by Antheil, due to technical errors and difficulties.


The video is quite impressive as well:

Finally, I can't say anything about Antheil without mentioning the interesting trivia about his patent on frequency hopping with the actress Hedy Lamarr, who I have a thing for.



There is a not so scholarly discussion here:

http://hypatiamaze.org/h_lamarr/scigrrl.html






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« Reply #88 on: April 26, 2013, 02:47:38 pm »

Music of Easley Blackwood


From the collection of Karl Miller

1-3: Concerto for Oboe and Strings
Dartmouth Community Symphony(?)
Raoul Zazal, Oboe
Mario di Boniventura, Cond(?)

4-6: Concerto for Flute and Strings
Dartmouth Community Symphony(?)
Robert Willoughby , Flute  -- Note-- Robert Willoughby has verified that he was the flautist- he is 91 and still teaching. Thanks to Lani at Symphony Share!
Mario di Boniventura, Cond(?)
July 28, 1968
This performance (and maybe the previous one) may well have taken place during Summer 1968 Congregation of the Arts festival-- http://congregation-of-the-arts.wikispaces.com/Congregation+of+the+Arts+-+Summer+1968
     Thanks to Derek Katz at Symphony Share!


Both of the above are from personal recordings, and, to my knowledge, have never been commercially released.

7-9:  Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 24
Composer, Piano
Cleveland Orchestra
Louis Lane, Conductor
April 27-28, 1972
Radio broadcast.

From reading about Blackwood, I must confess that I would like to explore some of his microtonal work, which postdates these recordings.

Wikipedia Bio


Easley Blackwood,
(born April 21, 1933), is a professor of music, a concert pianist, a composer of music, some using unusual tunings, and the author of books on music theory, including his research into the properties of microtonal tunings and traditional harmony.

Blackwood was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He studied piano there and was doing solo appearances at the age of 14 with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. After studies at many places (including Yale University, where he earned his Master of Arts degree) in the United States, he went to Paris to study from 1954 to 1956. His teachers include Olivier Messiaen, Paul Hindemith, and Nadia Boulanger. For forty years, from 1958 to 1997, Blackwood taught at the University of Chicago, most of the time with the title of Professor. He then became Professor Emeritus at the University. He is still teaching classes.

Blackwood's initial compositions were not particularly unconventional although in them he employed polyrhythm and wide melodic contours. This early music by Blackwood has been characterized as in an atonal yet a formally conservative style. In 1980-81 Blackwood shifted rather abruptly to a new style, releasing Twelve Microtonal Etudes for Electronic Music Media. For these pieces, he used microtonality to create unusual equal tempered musical scales. Blackwood has explored all equal temperaments from 13 through 24, including 15-ET and 19-ET.[1] Although Blackwood recorded most of these pieces with a synthesizer, his "Suite in 15-Note Equal Tuning, Op. 33" was performed live on a specially constructed guitar.[2] His compositional style moved toward a late-19th-century tonality; he has likened its harmonic syntax to Verdi, Ravel, and Franck.

As a performer at the piano, Blackwood has played diverse compositions and has promoted the music of Charles Ives, Pierre Boulez, and the Second Viennese School. In addition to his solo piano performances, Blackwood is pianist in the chamber group Chicago Pro Musica, largely comprising members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Blackwood has written a very substantial treatise on music harmony, A Practical Musician's Guide to Tonal Harmony which, "...springs from studies at the French National Conservatory from 1954-1957 with Nadia Boulanger."[3]

Blackwood is also known for his book, The Structure of Recognizable Diatonic Tunings, (ISBN 0691091293) published 1986. A number of recordings of his music have been released by Cedille Records (the label of the Chicago Classical Recording Foundation) beginning in the 1990s such as Introducing Easley Blackwood.[4]

His father, Easley Blackwood, Sr. is a noted contract bridge player and author.

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« Reply #89 on: April 26, 2013, 02:55:10 pm »

William Bolcom:Concerto Grosso for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra


From the collection of Karl Miller

1. Intro
2-5: Concerto Grosso for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra
6. Outro.

World Premiere
Detroit Symphony
Prism Saxophone Quartet
Jahja Ling, Conductor
2001
Radio Broadcast

Announcement of  Commission by the Prism quartet

PRISM is proud to announce the commissioning of a multi-movement Concerto Grosso for saxophone quartet and orchestra by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom. The work was composed in 2000 season and given its first performances during the 2000-2001 season by the PRISM Quartet in co-premieres with a consortium of orchestras, including the Detroit and Dallas Symphony Orchestras.

The commissioning of this concerto sets a historical precedent as among the first works of its kind by a major American composer. As such, it will hold a significant place in the contemporary orchestral music literature by demonstrating the beauty and breadth of the saxophone's expressive capabilities.

That William Bolcom's compositions are frequently recorded and performed by the world's leading musical institutions is testimony to his stature as a living "national treasure." His work with American vernacular styles and in theatrical modes has been a strong impulse in his music making, both as a composer and a performer. As he explains, “My explorations in all sorts of music from America’s past have been to learn the roots of our musical language, so that I can build from them.” A student of Darius Milhaud and Oliver Messiaen, Mr. Bolcom has had a number of honors bestowed upon him, including the Pulitzer Prize for Music, two Koussevitzky Foundation Awards, two Guggenheim Fellowships, several Rockefeller Foundation Awards and NEA Grants, the Marc Blitzstein Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, the Michigan Council for the Arts Award, and the Governor's Arts Award from the State of Michigan.

In recent years, Bolcom has been commissioned by many prestigious performing organizations, including the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Orpheus Ensemble, among others. These have included Lyric Concerto for James Galway and the St. Louis Symphony, McTeague for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Fifth Symphony for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Sonata for Cello and Piano for Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax, GAEA, a double piano concerto for Leon Fleisher, Gary Graffman, the Baltimore, St. Louis, and Pacific Symphonies, Piano Quartet No. 2 for the Beaux Arts Trio with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, and Sixth Symphony for the National Symphony Orchestra. Other commissions have included the Carnegie Hall Centennial, for which he wrote a song cycle with texts by American women poets, ballet scores for the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Murray Louis Troupe, and the commissioned work for the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1997. Mr. Bolcom is Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.


Bolcom's Note about the work:



Quote
“Concerto Grosso, written for the PRISM Saxophone Quartet (which has included at different times a few of my former students in composition), was written purely as a piece to be enjoyed by performers and listeners. PRISM had mentioned wanting a concerto grosso for themselves. (To remind readers, a concerto grosso is a Baroque-era form involving a small group of instrumentalists, called the concertino, in dialog with the ripieno or large orchestra.)

“Although each PRISM member is an excellent soloist, I took their request to mean that I should emphasize their group identity, their ‘fourness.’ This immediately called up two precedents in my mind: the Schumann concerto for horn quartet which is very homophonic, and the many 20th-century groups of all sorts which often dressed alike to emphasize their uniqueness, from the Four Lads and the Beatles to the Motown groups and countless others.

“The first movement, Lively, in simple sonata form, evokes blues harmonies in both its themes. Song without Words, which follows, is a lyrical larghetto. The following Valse, which has a very French cast, begins with a long solo stretch for the saxophone quartet; the development of this theme alternates with a pianissimo Scherzetto section. The final Badinerie, a title borrowed from Bach, evokes bebop and rhythm-and-blues.
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