Ralph Shapey

Composer(s): Ralph Shapey, Faye-Ellen Silverman
Album Title: Silverman/ Shapey 
Cat. No.: 80355
Genre: Classical
Description: Ralph Shapey: Kroslish Sonate, Concertante No.1 for Trumpet and 10 Players
Faye-Ellen Silverman: Restless Winds, Speaking Alone, Passing Fancies

Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Stephen Mosko; D. Shostac, flute; J. Krosnick, cello; G. Kalish, piano; Contemporary Chamber Players of University of Chicago, Ralph Shapey; R. Anderson, trumpet

Faye-Ellen Silverman has been prolific throughout her career. She has written a wide variety of orchestral and chamber-music works, which have been performed by major ensembles throughout America and in Europe and Asia. A graduate of Barnard College, Harvard University, and Columbia University, she studied composition with, among others, Otto Luening, Vladimir Ussachevsky, Leon Kirchner, and Jack Beeson.

Silverman's Passing Fancies (1985), whose patron, Paul Fromm, is remembered in the initials of its title, is a five-movement work played without pause. Each section is highly differentiated in mood, tempo, and orchestration; together they are parts of an integrated whole, "a narrative," according to the composer," which will only make complete sense once the work has been heard in its totality." This disc also includes Silverman's 1986 Restless Winds (the second of her woodwind quintets); and Speaking Alone (1976).

Ralph Shapey is one of our most interesting iconoclasts since Charles Ives. Despite numerous public honors-among them a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1982-Shapey has never sought general accessibility or approbation. A composer of works with granitic textures and imposing profiles, Shapey is, to quote the historian Leonard Meyer, a "radical traditionalist."

His Concertante No. 1 for Trumpet and 10 Players (1984) and Kroslish Sonate (1985) give evidence of Shapey's stylistic consistency through the years. His musical language, in these works as in works since the late 1950s, is an amalgam melding the serialism of Schoenberg (as filtered through Stefan Wolpe, with whom Shapey studied) with the instrumental brashness of Edgard Varèse (whose music he has often conducted). Characterizing the music are rugged contrapuntal textures and a sense of taut, compressed expression. 
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