Leo Ornstein

Composer(s): Leo Ornstein
Album Title: String Quartet No. 3, Piano Quintet 
Cat. No.: 80509
Genre: Classical
Description: String Quartet No. 3, Piano Quintet

Lydian String Quartet; Janice Weber

Leo Ornstein (b. 1892), son of a Russian cantor, grew up hearing not only Jewish liturgical music, but Greek and Armenian chant, and Russian folk music as well. These influences are featured and blended in his music, together with a highly personal language of dissonant tonality. The Piano Quintet (1927) is always tonal, though not in a traditionally "functional" way. Long build-ups of gradually piled-up dissonance arrive at forceful climaxes that have panoramic scope and power. Sweeping melodies float beatlessly over strongly marked metric supports. In the outer movements, the mood is often epic; one is reminded of the movies of Eisenstein and the great Russian landscapes, marauding bands of Cossacks, affecting cantorial wails-the irresistible momentum of history. The slow movement is an eloquent expression of human sadness.

In the String Quartet No. 3 (1976), the tonality is much more oblique. There is constant tonal reference, but Ornstein seldom alights squarely in a clearly defined key. The listener is often oriented towards a tonal center, but there are unexpected deflections and pivotings that open new horizons. 
Download from iTunes!
Tracks on this Album
  Work Composer(s)
  Back to Search Results

album cover

(171K PDF file. Larger files may take several minutes over slower connections.)
 Of Related Interest