Cowell/ Adler/ Perle/ Evett/ Keeney/ Goossen

Composer(s): George Perle, Henry Cowell, Samuel Adler, Robert Evett, Frederic Goossen, Wendell Keeney
Album Title: Exultation 
Cat. No.: 80304
Genre: Classical
Description: Works by Henry Cowell, Samuel Adler, George Perle, Robert Evett, Wendell Keeney, Frederic Goossen

Bradford Gowen, piano

Exultation surveys the twentieth-century American piano literature as exemplified in the work of six American composers of disparate stylistic sensibilities. Forms and procedures from several earlier periods served to inspire or guide these composers, sometimes superficially, sometimes deeply. Acknowledging at once the vitality of the past and the need to be new, these composers have contributed to the evolving continuity of music.

The piano music of Samuel Adler (b. 1928)-pupil of Piston, Hindemith, and Copland-is marked by an urgent, communicative nature, with lyricism holding its own against intense rhythmic energy. Sonatina (1979), Sonata Breve (1963), The Road to Terpsichore: A Suite of Dances (1989), and Canto VIII (1973) all display these compelling qualities.

Henry Cowell characteristically manages to telescope complexity and simplicity, radical "noise" and catchy modal tunes, into a jubilant piece of Americana: the aptly titled Exultation. The Six Etudes(1976) of George Perle (b. 1915) remains one of the most significant American piano compositions of the second half of the twentieth century, rich in their variety of expressive, exciting, and spontaneous-sounding writing.

Robert Evett’s (1922-1975) Chaconne, in form and concept, in texture, and in melodic and rhythmic pattern, refers to the Baroque period-but its harmonic style identifies it with the mid-twentieth century. Wendell Keeney’s (1903-1989) Sonatina, written in 1943, is indebted to Classical models for its three-movement form. Good-humored virtuosity in the outer movements contrasts with lyrical calm in the middle, producing overall a work of refinement, wit, and grace. Rounding out the program is the confidently lyrical Fantasy, Aria, and Fugue (1973) of Frederic Goossen (b. 1927), a synthesis of Baroque forms and techniques and Romantic emotional expression. 
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