Yehudi Wyner

Composer(s): Yehudi Wyner
Album Title: On This Most Voluptuous Night 
Cat. No.: 80549
Genre: Classical
Release Date: 08/2000
Description: On This Most Voluptuous Night

Lydian String Quartet; Dominique Labelle, soprano; Christopher Krueger, flute; Jean Rife, horn; Daniel Stepner, violin; Yehudi Wyner, piano

The music of Yehudi Wyner (b. 1929) represents a fusion and reconciliation of opposites-of coherence and surprise; of formal ingenuity and informal, spontaneous ease; of clarity and elusiveness. The repeated allusions to pop music of the Swing era never appear in quotation marks, but as part of a texture where everything is always turning into something else, and you never know what's going to lie around the corner.

Much of Wyner’s music was written for specific occasions and purposes as well as for specific people. However, the pieces transcend those original occasions and purposes. 3 Informal Pieces and Brandeis Sunday are excellent examples of this dimension of his work. Dances of Atonement reflects Wyner’s Jewish heritage, his practicality, and the way his music takes on a life of its own. The String Quartet, written for his friends in the Lydian Quartet, begins in one place and ends in another that is a surprising but inevitable consequence of where it began. On This Most Voluptuous Night, one of the composer’s major works, is perhaps most characteristic of the intersections in Wyner’s music. The text comes from a poetic master of the American vernacular, William Carlos Williams, and the music, like much of Wyner’s work, is both learned and vernacular. It also represents the fruit of decades of work on Bach-“the words and the music, and the relationship between the words and the music as a way of getting into its inner life.”

Above all, Yehudi Wyner’s music is immediate. What other American composer could startle you by mentioning Verdi as his model? “My music,” Wyner once said, “is anything but theoretical. It is full of palpable gestures; it packs an immediate punch, but there is more underneath that, as in Verdi. I want things to be clear, powerful-and complicated.” 
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