Shank – Hagedorn Duo
At Home and Abroad
1. Music in Four Sharps (15:37)
String quartet and guitar, guest artists:
Laura Sewell, Tom Turner & Stephanie Arado.
On Dowland’s ‘Frog Galliard’, premiere recording
Serenade for Two (15:10)
2. Cavatina (6:12)
3. Fancy (8:58)
Composed for Shank-Hagedorn Duo,
Three Pieces (11:11)
Arranged by Joseph Hagedorn
4. Slingerdansin (3:26)
5. Tähdet Taivahalla (3:59)
6. Sofias Flykt (3:46)
7. gift (3:52)
Viola and guitar, composed for
Shank-Hagedorn Duo, premiere recording
W is for Weasel (11:38)
8. Insistence (2:48)
9. Estampie (2:01)
10. W is for Weasel (5:02)
11. Metempsychosis – A War Prayer (1:47)
Suite for Violin and Guitar (18:44)
12. Tonada (3:42)
13. Zamba (2:29)
14. Chacarera Doble (1:47)
15. Bambuco (3:19)
16. Guabina (4:41)
17. Contracueca (2:46)
Composed for Shank-Hagedorn Duo,
Total Time = 76:12
innova is the label of the
American Composers Forum.
© Shank-Hagedorn Duo, 2019.
All Rights Reserved.
Music in Four Sharps
Music in Four Sharps (2004) is a reworking of my Portrait of a Young Woman, written for two guitars in the early 90’s. It was commissioned by the Los Angeles-based ensemble Pacific Serenades, which premiered it, with guitarist Jack Sanders, in February 2005. The piece begins with a deconstruction of a song by John Dowland, “Now oh now I needs must part.” I used the lute solo version, familiar to guitarists (to whom it is known as the Frog Galliard). Several minutes into the piece, I realized I had used no accidentals—also a characteristic of Dowland’s original. If any were needed I surely would have used them, but as it turned out I finished the piece without straying from the seven notes of the E-major scale. Hence the title.
Serenade for Two
There is no program for Serenade (2010), neither narrative, emotional, or theoretical. Serenade is simply acknowledgement of the pleasure evinced by Leslie and Joe when making music together.
Maria Kalaniemi’s works Slingerdansin, Tähdet Taivahalla and Sofias Flykt were selected from her 1994 and 1995 CD recordings “Maria Kalaniemi” and “iho”. After seeing Maria Kalaniemi perform these works live with her band in Minnesota, I simply had to play them somehow, so I transcribed and arranged them for violin and guitar.
Leslie Shank is one of my longest-running friendships: we met in the late 1970s, when we were both students at the Aspen Music Festival. Years later, Leslie met Joe Hagedorn, fell in love, and got married. My piece gift (2018) is a belated wedding present to both of them.
W is for Weasel
W is for Weasel (2003) was originally envisioned as a single movement. During the writing, however, ideas emerged which the one-movement format could not accommodate, and the piece grew into a four-movement suite, comprising:
1. INSISTENCE – A brisk cut-time movement with a driving theme and a waltz in the middle.
2. ESTAMPIE – An early medieval dance form. Surviving medieval estampies are monophonic, and are often performed in unison or octaves. The rhythm here – alternating measures of 7/8 and 5/8 – is more complicated than that of a medieval estampie, but the narrow range of the melodic material and the pattern of repeats are characteristic of the original form.
3. W IS FOR WEASEL – A set of variations on Pop! Goes the Weasel! Listen for an allusion to the familiar theme from the last movement of Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony (“Joyful, grateful feelings after the storm”).
4. METEMPSYCHOSIS – The contemplative final movement recalls the insistent theme of the first. ‘Metempsychosis’, a word significant in James Joyce’s Ulysses, means the ‘transmigration of souls’. This movement pays homage to all those – especially the children – who continue to suffer and die in war. The last few bars, where the instruments gradually ascend in pitch, are intended as an apotheosis – a technique taken from the Baroque tombeau (a musical elegy), in which ascending pitches symbolically carry souls to heaven.
Suite for Violin and Guitar
Each of the six movements of Suite for Violin and Guitar (2016) is energized by a traditional Latin American dance rhythm:
tonada – A Chilean rhythm. I treat the tonada in a free style because of its personality and its flexibility of tempo. Hence it is possible to incorporate a cadence and to develop its motives more deeply. This makes the tonada suitable as a first movement for a suite of this kind.
zamba – An Argentine dance in a slow, expressive tempo with a well-defined structure, not subject to variation.
chacarera doble – An Argentine dance, medium-fast, with a well-defined structure and a slightly faster tempo than the simple chacarera.
bambuco – An Andean-Colombian rhythm, medium-fast. The melodic material of bambuco is woven together with that of the second-movement zamba, with dynamic results.
guabina – A Colombian rhythm, medium-slow, with a ‘dolce’ character. As in bambuco, I have been inspired by the structural schemes of the Colombian composer Gentil Montaña.
contraceuca – Cueca is a Chilean traditional dance of a strong profile and rhythm. Its rhythmic pattern is very similar to my own tune; it has a fixed structure, in which the melodic cycle is repeated four times without change. ‘Contracueca’ is a dance form conjured from cueca. It can modify the traditional schema by incorporating a second section or codas of varying lengths. Often, between the two complex melodies, melodic transition beats can be incorporated.
Born in 1956 in Olney, Maryland, composer Ian Krouse has been praised in Gramophone as “one of the most communicative and intriguing young composers on the music scene today.” His compositions for guitar quartet—eleven to date—are especially noteworthy; several of his solo guitar works, above all his Air (In the Irish style) and Variations on a Moldavian Hora, have received multiple recordings and are played around the globe. Much of his work draws on folk, popular, and world music influences, as well as on medieval, renaissance, and baroque music.
Krouse’s epic Armenian Requiem, scored for vocal soloists, string quartet, organ, Armenian instruments, children’s chorus, choir, and orchestra, received its premiere in Los Angeles in 2015. Commissioned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, it is the first large-scale concert setting of the traditional Armenian requiem liturgy. The debut recording of the work will be released in 2019 on the Naxos label.
Krouse’s music has been performed or recorded by orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, the Seocho Philharmonia (Korea), and the Ukraine Radio and Television Orchestra, as well as by orchestras in Egypt, Armenia, and New Zealand. Among the chamber ensembles that have featured his work are the Aureole Trio, Dinosaur Annex, 20th Century Consort, Remix, Debussy Trio, Pacific Serenades, Dilijan Ensemble, May Festival Choir, and Los Angeles Chamber Singers.
Krouse has received grants from AT&T, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Composers Forum, and Meet the Composer, as well as the Ford and Rockefeller foundations and the Atlantic-Richfield Corporation. He has won the BMI Award and the Gaudeamus Festival Prize. His works have appeared on the Brain, Chandos, Delos, GSP, GHA, Koch, Lisaddell, Naxos, RCM, Voces de Iberoamerica, and Urtext Digital Classics labels. He is a Distinguished Professor of Music at the Herb Alpert School of Music at the University of California, Los Angeles.
A graduate of St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minn.), composer Alf [Sveining] Houkom (b.1935) earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Illinois–Chicago. A Minnesota native, he was for many years a member of the music faculty at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. He is especially esteemed for his choral compositions and arrangements, which have been championed by the noted conductor Dale Warland. Houkom’s work is published by Walton, Boosey & Hawkes, Lawson-Gould, and Concordia, and has been recorded (by the Dale Warland Singers and the Gregg Smith Singers) on the Navona, Pro Organo, and American Choral Catalog labels.
A virtuoso of the free-bass button accordion, Maria Kalaniemi (b.1964) is one of Finland’s leading contemporary musicians. Classically trained, she is a graduate of the Sibelius Academy (Helsinki), where she now teaches, but is generally regarded as a folk musician of diverse predilections, best known for her work with such pioneering groups as Niekku and Aldargaz.
An accomplished composer and a bold improviser, Maria Kalaniemi appears on numerous recordings with many ensembles, including the international accordion collective Accordion Tribe. She has toured throughout Europe, North America, and Japan.
A Los Angeles native long resident in New York, composer David Lang (b.1957) has made signal contributions to nearly every musical genre. He studied at Stanford with Lou Harrison and Martin Bresnick, and at Yale with Bresnick, Jacob Druckman, Roger Reynolds, and Morton Subotnick, among others. With colleagues Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe he founded BANG ON A CAN, a highly successful new-music collective, in 1987. Recent works of note include the little match girl passion, which was recognized with both the Pulitzer Prize for Music (2008) and a Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance (2010).
David Hahn is an American composer, guitarist, and music director. His prolific output includes works ranging from electronic music and audio collage to chamber and orchestral music, featuring traditional instruments and voices.
Many of Mr. Hahn’s pieces have been commissioned and performed internationally by established professional ensembles and soloists. He is the founder, music director and guitarist of Concert Imaginaire. He has often and actively seeks collaborations with artists in film, dance, theater, spoken word, and other media. Mr. Hahn has won awards from Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Soros Foundation, Seattle’s Artist Trust, the American Classical Mandolin Society, and the Jack Straw Cultural Center.
His record label is The Sublunar Society.
Born in Patagonia (Chile), guitarist and composer Javier Contreras has written extensively for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, orchestras, and choirs. As an instrumentalist he has been largely self-taught; as a performer his main influences have been his father, Manuela Contreras, and the Chilean guitarist José Antonio Escobar. He won first prize in the Boston Guitar Fest composition competition and the Lisker Music Foundation composition competition (Chicago), as well as first prize in the Black Cedar Inaugural Commissioning Competition and in Chilé’s Liliana Perez Coroy national classical guitar competition.
Contreras has toured, recorded, and offered masterclasses in the USA, Spain, England, and India, and has participated in guitar festivals throughout South America. His music has been published by the prominent house of Mel Bay (USA) and the recorded on the NAXOS label (Canada) by the distinguished guitarist José Antonio Escobar on the compact disc “Guitar Music of Chile.” At present he plays in several chamber-music groups, among them the ensemble Extremo Sur and the guitar duo Dúo Sudamericano.
Praised by the New York Times as “an impressive violinist [who plays] intimately and sweetly at one moment and with fearless enthusiasm at the next,” Leslie Shank leads a busy musical life as soloist and chamber musician. She was a member of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for 30 years, 24 of them as assistant concertmaster. Soloing frequently with The SPCO, she also performed with the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, the Seattle Symphony, and the National Orchestral Association, among others.
Ms. Shank made her New York recital debut in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall as a winner of the Artists International Competition, and was twice re-engaged for its Special Presentation Series. Her recital on the celebrated Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago was broadcast on WFMT radio. She has performed at leading festivals, including Aspen, Grand Teton, Mainly Mozart, and Marlboro, and has served as concertmaster at Music in the Mountains (Colorado) and Britt (Oregon). She toured the East Coast with the prestigious Musicians from Marlboro, and was for four seasons a member of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. In 2014-15 she was Visiting Assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Ms. Shank is a founding member of the Isles Ensemble, composed of many of the Twin Cities’ foremost chamber musicians; she plays both violin and viola in the group. She can be heard on a Centaur compact disc, Recital for Violin & Guitar, with her husband, classical guitarist Joseph Hagedorn. The Shank-Hagedorn Duo has performed on Minnesota Public Radio’s nationally distributed Saint Paul Sunday. Ms. Shank has also recorded Bartók’s sonatas for violin and piano, again on the Centaur label, with pianist Heather MacLaughlin. In 1997, the Shank-MacLaughlin Duo received a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians.
Leslie Shank earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from The Juilliard School. Her teachers were Shirley Givens, Felix Galimir, and Dorothy Delay.
A founding member of the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, Joseph Hagedorn has performed with the group since 1986, touring to some thirty states, Canada, Mexico, Serbia, and Montenegro, and recording five much-admired CDs. This Iowa native earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Cornell College and a Master of Music degree from the University of Minnesota, studying with Richard Stratton, Christopher Carrington, Nelson Amos, and Jeffrey Van. In 1990, he was the winner of Guitar Foundation of America International solo competition.
Hagedorn has served on the music faculty of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls since 1988, and his solo and concerto appearances have taken him to more than 25 American cities. He has been heard twice on the nationally broadcast radio program Saint Paul Sunday, once with the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet and once with his wife, violinist Leslie Shank, as the fretted half of the Shank-Hagedorn Duo.
His adroit, colorful arrangements, numbering in the dozens, are widely admired.
Leslie Shank – violin by Josef Gagliano, 1783,
viola by Lawrence Furse, 1985
Joseph Hagedorn – guitar by Stephen Kakos, 2011
Guest Artists (String Quartet) on Music in Four Sharps:
Laura Sewell, cello; Tom Turner, viola; and Stephanie Arado, violin
Recorded 2017-18 at Wild Sound, Minneapolis, MN
Produced by Jeff Lambert
Recording engineers: Matthew Zimmerman and Steven Kaul
Edited, mixed and mastered by Jeff Lambert
Cover Art: Sunland, 2009, by Tommy Cotton, Acrylic and plaster
Liner notes: Larry Fuchsberg
Graphic Design by Ann Wempner
Dedicated to the memory of Bill Male
Innova Director: Philip Blackburn
Operations Director: Chris Campbell
Publicist: Tim Igel
Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.