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Stephen Hartke: Concerto for Violin & Orchestra "Auld Swaara"/ Symphony No. 2

Composer(s): Stephen Hartke
Album Title: Stephen Hartke: Concerto for Violin & Orchestra "Auld Swaara"/ Symphony No. 2 
Cat. No.: 80533
Genre: Classical
 
Description: The music of Stephen Hartke

Riverside Symphony/George Rothman, conductor;  Michelle Makarski, violin

“... If constructing organic structures is one challenge facing today's composers, finding a distinctive musical voice is another. Stephen Hartke has one.... Authenticity is a difficult quality to account for, but Mr. Hartke's music is guileless and affecting....” —The New York Times

Stephen Hartke (b. 1952) has forged a distinctive musical voice that fully and fluently incorporates a broad array of musical influences, classical and popular. Stravinsky, Ives, and his former teacher George Rochberg have been particularly influential.

This disc, his second on New World, pairs two of his large-scale works, the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, “Auld Swaara,” and Symphony No. 2.

The Concerto for Violin & Orchestra is in two movements.  The first is a musical portrait of violinist Michelle Makarski, for whom the piece was originally composed, with two dance-like, high-spirited sections wrapped around a quiet, mysterious passage.  The second is more pensive, a fantasy based on “Auld Swaara,”, a Shetland Island fiddle tune that is a lament for a lost fisherman traditionally played at day's end before putting the instrument away.

Symphony No. 2 (in three movements) bears the dedication “To my memory of my father.” To paraphrase Hartke, the Symphony is an essay on the tragedy of failure. It is altogether darker in mood than the Concerto and elegiac in tone. Both works strongly confirm Hartke’s ability to write fresh, eloquently communicative music springing from a decidedly romantic artistic temperament. 
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