To the Point

Orchestra 2001

Innova 745

 

1. To the Point, Jennifer Higdon

 

2. Canto di Ritorno (Concerto for Violin and Small Orchestra), Andrew Rudin

Diane Monroe, violin

 

3. Concerto da Camera, Gunther Schuller (conducted by the composer)

 

4. Blades of Grass, Romeo Cascarino

Dorothy Freeman, English horn

 

The River Within (Concerto for Violin and Orchestra), Jay Reise

Maria Bachmann, violin

5.      I    Agitato

6.      II   Adagietto inquieto

7.      III  Vivace

 

Orchestra 2001

James Freeman, conductor

 

 

 

Orchestra 2001

Orchestra 2001 of Philadelphia is dedicated to performing and promoting the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, premiering new works, providing a major focus for the best new music of our time, introducing rarely performed older works, and reaching out to regional and international audiences through recordings and tours.

Since its founding in 1988 by artistic director and conductor James Freeman, the orchestra has grown into one of America's most important champions of new music and one of Philadelphia's most esteemed cultural institutions.  Each program is presented at a center-city Philadelphia venue and at Swarthmore College where the orchestra is ensemble in residence.  Through its recordings (for CRI, Albany, Bridge, and Innova Records) and its tours abroad (Russia, England, Denmark, Slovenia, and most recently the Salzburg Festival), Orchestra 2001 has brought new American music to countless new audiences.

 

James Freeman

James Freeman, founder and Artistic Director of Orchestra 2001, is the Daniel Underhill Professor Emeritus of Music at Swarthmore College. He was trained at Harvard University (BA, MA, Ph.D), Tanglewood, and Vienna's Akademie für Musik and counts among his principal teachers pianists Arthur Balsam and Paul Badura-Skoda, and his father, double bassist Henry Freeman. As conductor, pianist and bass player, Mr. Freeman's performances throughout Europe, Japan, the United States and, most recently, Taiwan, Slovenia, Russia, England, Austria, and Denmark have won critical acclaim.  He has recorded for CRI, Columbia, Nonesuch, Bridge, Albany, Innova, MMC and AR Records.

 

Jennifer Higdon: To the Point  (2004)

To the Point is a movement from my string quartet, "Impressions." I thought the sound of this particular movement might be interesting as a string orchestra piece, so when the American Composers Forum had a call for scores to be read by Orchestra 2001, I created a version for string orchestra. To the Point is from a quartet that was commissioned by the Cypress String Quartet as part of their Call & Response Series, where a living composer responds to two works in the standard literature.  I was responding to the Debussy and Ravel Quartets. Both of those works have pizzicato movements that are reportedly heavily influenced by the Gamelan ensemble of the Paris World's Fair, so this movement is a response to those particular movements.  It also responds to the Impressionist movement in art, which was part of our program to the San Francisco school children in relation to these three pieces.  to the point refers to the tip of a paint brush and the thousands of small dots that make up an impressionist painting.

 

Jennifer Higdon

Grammy winner Jennifer Higdon (b. Brooklyn, NY, 1962) is one of the most performed living American composers working today. She is the recipient of many awards, including a Pew Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and two awards from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. Her list of commissioners range from the Philadelphia Orchestra to the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; from eighth blackbird to the Tokyo String Quartet; and from The President's Own Marine Band to such artists as Hilary Hahn. Higdon received a 2010 GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for her Percussion Concerto. She holds the Rock Chair in Composition at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

 

Andrew Rudin: Canto di Ritorno (Concerto for Violin and Small Orchestra - 2004)

Canto di Ritorno (Concerto for Violin and Small Orchestra) began its life as a Sonata in one movement for Violin and Piano. After the first performance, as I listened to it repeatedly, I realized I kept imagining orchestral colors in many sections. After violinist Diane Munroe performed the Sonata, I revised the piece, extending some passages, adding an interlude providing the soloist a chance to rest, adjusted and 'relaxed' some transition passages, and added orchestral counterpoint in various places, sometimes in canon with the soloist.

Though presented as one continuous movement, the work in fact reflects many characteristics of a more traditional "sonata" construction: the presentation at the outset of contrasting thematic sections ("amabile", then abruptly "deciso/scherzando"); an extensive developmental section in the form of a chaconne. There is recapitulation of many materials heard earlier, though usually altered in such a way that themes previously presented recur, turned "inside-out" emotionally, by a change of tempo, dynamic, background accompaniment, or context, but very much the same, in terms of pitch and rhythmic profile.

Prior to beginning this new version of the composition, I was startled to realize that what I had initially composed on a rather abstract basis seemed to me now to vividly and autobiographically reflect recent events in my own life, in which the person dearest to me underwent a serious medical crisis and subsequently recovered. Though I never intentionally constructed the piece to reflect these events, it seemed to me, that as Gustav Mahler remarked, "all music has an interior program."

During this period of crisis, we were involved in a study-course reading Dante. This led to the sub-title of the piece: "Canto" because of the frequently singing nature of the violin line, and because of the work's being organized into sections, like the many "cantos" of Dante's poem. And "Ritorno", because the piece at its conclusion returns, somewhat unexpectedly to its beginning; and because like Dante and Virgil in "The Inferno", we return to the world once more.

 

Andrew Rudin

Andrew Rudin (b. 1939) is a Texas-born composer of Swedish ancestry whose many contributions to the literature of electronic music brought him early recognition.  His "Il Giuoco" was the first large-scale work for Moog Synthesizer, a U.S. representative in the 5th Paris Biennale. His synthesized music is heard in the sound-track of the film "Fellini: Satyricon" and his "Tragoedia" was the second of Nonesuch Records' electronic music commissions, described by critic Alfred Frankenstein as "The best large-scale electronic work I have ever heard...the electronic idiom finally comes of age." His interest in theatrical music has resulted in ballets for the Pennsylvania Ballet, Murray Louis, Dance Theatre Workshop, Louis Falco, Jeff Duncan, London Contemporary Dance Theatre, and four collaborations with Alwin Nikolais, as well as incidental music for Tennessee Williams' "Outcry".  In 1972, his opera "The Innocent" was produced in Philadelphia by Tito Capobianco.  He studied with George Rochberg, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Ralph Shapey, Kent Kennan, and Paul Pisk.  He has taught on the faculties of the Juilliard School and The Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts, where he was founding director of the Electronic Music Center.  Canto is published by Skane Hill Music.   www.composerudin.com.

 

Diane Monroe

Philadelphia-born violinist Diane Monroe, bridges the traditions of classical composition and jazz improvisation. Her recital venues include The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and New York City's Merkin Hall. She has performed in duo recital with Arnold Steinhardt, was a Fiddlefest soloist in Carnegie Hall, has participated in the Marlboro and Sitka Festivals, and has premiered many new solo works.  She is a composer and former member of the Max Roach Double Quartet, Uptown String Quartet, String Trio of New York, Amabile Piano Quartet, and the Kasimir and Beaumont String Quartets. Monroe studied violin performance at Oberlin Conservatory, Philadelphia Musical Academy, Michigan State University, and the Curtis Institute of Music. Her teachers were Ivan Galamian, Charles Castleman, David Cerone, Joyce Robbins, and Walter Verdehr. Monroe's guest solo recordings include David Baker's Sonata for Jazz Violin and String Quartet on Koch Records with the Oregon String Quartet, and Paul Salerni's Dances with Fables, with the Monacacy Chamber Orchestra.

 

Gunther Schuller: Concerto da Camera (2002)

My Concerto da Camera — it is actually the second work with that title, the other one composed in 1970 — is the result of a twin-commission by two chamber orchestras, the ProArte orchestra in Boston (of which I am Conductor Laureate, having worked with them for over thirty years), and Orchestra 2001.

The work is in two joined movements (played without interruption), one slow, the other quite fast. Instead of the usual chamber orchestra instrumentation of single or double winds plus strings, I chose a less common ensemble of pairs of flutes, oboes, trumpets and trombones, with a small complement of strings, harp and percussion (one player). This eliminated clarinets, bassoons and horns and their mellower colors from the timbral palette, and emphasizes instead the higher-register winds (except for the trombones) and a tarter, brighter, friskier sound. Interestingly, and somewhat to my surprise, these timbral choices led me to write certain gestures, figures and instrumental combinations that I had never, to the best of my recollection, used before. Whether this is immediately audible to a first-time listener is debatable, but for me it was a fascinating experience - very much like a painter who has always used the full color spectrum suddenly limiting his palette to, say, only black, gray, and blue-green.

 

Gunther Schuller

Gunther Schuller (b. 1925) is the recipient of countless awards and prizes, including a MacArthur "Genius" award and a Pulitzer Prize. He is certainly one of the most versatile composers of our time, having been a virtuoso horn payer in his early years (principle horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra), written path-breaking books on jazz ("Early jazz" and "The Swing Era") and a very controversial one on conducting ("The Complete Conductor"); established his own music publishing company (Margun and Gunmar Music) in order to bring to light relatively unknown works from classical, popular, and jazz traditions; been one of America's most influential educators as President of the New England Conservatory of Music and Head of the Berkshire Music Center; composed a huge amount of important music; established a summer music festival at Sand Point, Idaho; and conducted most of the major orchestras of the world. Orchestra 2001 is extremely proud to be able to present Mr. Schuller on this disk as one of America's great composers AND one of America's great conductors.

 

Romeo Cascarino: Blades of Grass (1945)

 

Grass, Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

 

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo,

Shovel them under and let me work - -

I am the grass; I cover all.

 

And pile them high at Gettysburg

And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.

Shovel them under and let me work.

Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:

What place is this?

Where are we now?

 

I am the grass.

Let me work.

 

As part of an April, 1994 concert given by the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Dorothy Freeman was the English horn soloist in Romeo Cascarino's "Blades of Grass." Cascarino attended the concert and was impressed with her beautiful playing, afterwards writing on the cover of her part, "For Dorothy Freeman, who played the piece better than anyone."

For many years we thought of recording of "Blades of Grass," but the opportunity to do so seemed never to present itself. Finally, early in January of 2002, I thought there might arise such an opportunity in the coming months and realizing I had no score of the piece, and would soon need parts, called the phone number listed for Mr. Cascarino. His wife, Dolores, answered, and when I asked if I might speak with Mr. Cascarino, she said after some hesitation, "Why in heaven's name are you calling today?" "Just to find out where I could obtain a score and orchestral parts to 'Blades of Grass.'" To which she replied, "Don't you know that he died yesterday?! He would have been absolutely overjoyed to know of your recording plans. If only you had called just a few days earlier."

We were, of course, tremendously saddened at this news, but knew the recording of this lovely work must certainly go forward. When it finally did, we had a moment of silence for the composer whose presence we missed deeply.

—James Freeman

 

Romeo Cascarino

Philadelphian Romeo Cascarino (1922-2002) was essentially self-taught after high school, endlessly studying scores at the city's Free Library. For years, he taught composition and theory at the now-defunct Combs College of

Music. He composed a Bassoon Sonata for his army buddy (and longtime

Philadelphia Orchestra principal) bassoonist Sol Schoenbach, and four orchestral works, recently recorded by JoAnn Falletta. From 1960 to 1980 he worked continually on his opera "William Penn," which was eventually premiered at Philadelphia's Academy of Music in October 1982. After serving in the Army during World War II, Cascarino was moved by Carl Sandburg's poem "Grass," an ironic meditation for all those who had succumbed to futile deaths through centuries of war. To Cascarino it seemed to cry for a sense of hope and the process of renewal, and the elegiac "Blades Of Grass" for English horn and strings was the result. It has been performed frequently since its composition in 1945, often--at Cascarino's request--preceded by the reading of the poem. —Tom DiNardo

 

Dorothy Freeman

Dorothy Freeman was formerly a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony, solo oboe with the Lima, Peru, and Springfield, MA, symphony orchestras, and solo English horn with the Puerto Rico Festival Orchestra.  She received B.Mus. and M.Mus. degrees from Boston University, where she studied with Ralph Gomberg, later accepting a Fulbright Fellowship to continue her studies in Germany.  She is well known in the Philadelphia area for her performances of contemporary music with Orchestra 2001 and the Penn Contemporary Players, and is also a member of the Opera Company of Philadelphia Orchestra.  She has recorded for MMC, CRI, Albany Records, and Command Classics.  Composers Thomas Oboe Lee, Gerald Levinson, Robert Morgan, Arne Running, and Thomas Whitman have written solo works especially for her.

 

Jay Reise: The River Within: (Concerto for Violin and Orchestra - 2008)

 

The river slithered in cool, silent meanders . . . and then unraveled as if attempting to extend into a straight line, and darted away carrying with it a current of sky between its two banks. - J.-K. Huysmans, En Rade (Stranded) (1887)

 

The River Within was composed in 2008 and premiered by Orchestra 2001 with soloist Maria Bachmann and James Freeman conducting at the Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia.

River is composed for a virtuoso soloist accompanied by a Classical-size orchestra. But instead of the Classical string orchestra joined by coupled winds and brass with timpani, the orchestral forces consist of single winds and brass along with piano (the contemporary continuo) and a small selection of percussion instruments. Thus in an instance where a Classical composer might combine two oboes or two horns, I join similar instruments such as horn and bassoon or clarinet and muted trumpet. The result is an overall varied instrumental timbre with many tonal colors. The solo winds and brass also provide considerable contrapuntal commentary with the solo violin.

Rhythmic and linear organization in The River Within is based on a series of techniques I call "rhythmic polyphony", an approach I developed inspired by Carnatic music and jazz. Rhythmic motives are developed within the phrase such that the cadence point is implied rhythmically as well as through traditional harmonic and linear means.

The 26-minute piece is also Classical in its design and is cast in the traditional three-movement format: Fast (Agitato) - Slow (Adagietto inquieto) - Fast (Vivace).

The title The River Within was inspired by the passage from the novel by J.-K. Huysmans quoted above. Music taps into the river of life in all of us.

 

Jay Reise

Jay Reise is the composer of the opera Rasputin which was described in The Washington Times as "a spellbinding, challenging and profoundly beautiful creation." Originally commissioned by the late Beverly Sills and the New York City Opera, Rasputin was given its highly successful Russian premiere in Moscow by the Helikon Opera in September 2008.

Reise's recent works include the Concerto for Horn and 7 Instruments, commissioned and premiered by Adam Unsworth and the Network for New Music, and the piano quintet Powers That Be, commissioned by the Barlow Foundation and premiered by the Cassatt Quartet and Marc-André Hamelin. Reise has also composed an Oscar Wilde-based ballet fairy-tale The Selfish Giant which was commissioned and premiered by the Philharmonia Orchestra in London.

Jay Reise's symphonies have been performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and Long Island Philharmonic among other orchestras. His music has also been played widely both in the United States and abroad including an all-Reise retrospective concert in Moscow in 2000.  He has been a recipient of the US-Japan Creative Arts Fellowship and has served as Director of Contemporary Music at the Grand Teton Music Festival.

Among his recordings are the chamber concerto Chesapeake Rhythms and Concerto for Cello and 13 Instruments recorded on CRI by Orchestra 2001. The Devil in the Flesh and Other Pieces (Albany) features pianist Marc-André Hamelin. Other all-Reise CDs include Rhythmic Garlands (Centaur) and Jay Reise: Chamber Music (Albany).

Jay Reise is Professor of Music Composition at the University of Pennsylvania. His music is published by Merion Music/Theodore Presser.

 

Maria Bachmann

A violinist who combines outstanding musicianship with dazzling technical command, a tone of exceptional purity, and a magnetic stage presence, Maria Bachmann has been the subject of critical accolades from the very beginning of her career. The New York Times has hailed her as "a violinist of soul and patrician refinement", and The Boston Globe has praised her as being "astonishing in every musical and technical regard."  Ms. Bachmann's CD, The Red Violin, was chosen by BBC Music Magazine as "North American CD of the Month" in 2007.

Ms. Bachmann has performed the world premiere of Philip Glass's Sonata for Violin and Piano (2008) and has recorded it for her 5th recital CD, released in 2010. Her discography includes concertos of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Lou Harrison as well as numerous recordings with her chamber group, Trio Solisti. Her recordings can be found on BMG/RCA, Bridge, Koch, Allegro, Marquis, Naxos and Connoisseur Society record labels.

As a soloist, Ms. Bachmann has performed with The National Symphony at The Kennedy Center, The St Louis Symphony, and worked with conductors Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop and Robert Spano.  As an eminent proponent of new music, Ms. Bachmann has premiered many new works including those of George Rochberg, Leon Kirchner, James MacMillan, Sebastian Currier, Daniel Bernard Roumain and 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Moravec, who has written a total of fourteen works for Ms. Bachmann ranging from a violin concerto to works for violin and piano, and other chamber forms. Moravec's 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning work, Tempest Fantasy, was composed for Trio Solisti.

In 2010, Ms. Bachmann gave world premiere performances of Philip Glass's Double Concerto for violin, cello and orchestra with the Orchestra of The Hague, Netherlands, and Paul Moravec's Violin Concerto at The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia with Orchestra 2001. Maria Bachmann studied at the Curtis Institute with Ivan Galamian and Szymon Goldberg, and was awarded Curtis's Fritz Kreisler Prize for outstanding graduating violinist. She performs on a 1782 violin by Nicolo Gagliano. www.mariabachmann.com

 

 

CREDITS

 

Recorded, edited, and mastered by George Blood, George Blood Audio.

 

Orchestra 2001 is very grateful to Swarthmore College  (where it is

the ensemble in residence) for the use of its spectacular Lang

Concert Hall.

 

• Higdon produced by James Freeman and George Blood.  Recorded in live performance, Nov. 12, 2005, Trinity Center, Philadelphia.

Rudin produced by Andrew Rudin and George Blood.  Recorded in live performance Jan. 27, 2006, Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College.

Schuller produced by Gunther Schuller, James Freeman, and George Blood.  Recorded in live performance April 21, 2003, Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College

Cascarino produced by James Freeman and George Blood.  Recorded Sept. 20, 2004, Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College.

Reise produced by Jay Reise and George Blood.  Recorded in live performance April 12, Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia.

 

Sandburg permission?

Copland funding credit?

 

Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.

Philip Blackburn; director, design

Chris Campbell; operations manager

www.innova.mu