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Victor Herbert: Works for Cello and Piano/ Solo Piano Works

Composer(s): Victor Herbert
Album Title: Victor Herbert: Works for Cello and Piano/ Solo Piano Works 
Cat. No.: 80721
Genre: Classical / Chamber
Release Date: 12/2011
 
Description: Jerry Grossman, cello
William Hicks, piano


Specially priced (2 CDs for the price of 1!)

In an attempt to understand the foundations of the modern American musical theater, we believe that it is best to start with an understanding of the man who has often been called the Father of the American Musical Theater. His name was Victor Herbert (1859–1924). Although he wrote two operas, forty-six works for the commercial theater, two cello concerti, one tone poem and many other serious works, he is little known to today’s artists, composers, and the public in general. We hope to change that.

We have no intention of recording everything he wrote, but we would like to provide major examples of the breadth of his work and its beauty. We would like to demonstrate how the next generation of composers built on Herbert’s theatrical groundwork. For this reason, we are beginning a new series of recordings highlighting American musical theater composers whose work pre-dates the 1943 production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! We call this series of releases “The Foundations of the American Musical Theater.”

For our first release in this new series, we have chosen a selection of Herbert’s compositions for the piano and cello, most of which is recorded here for the first time. In the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth century, Herbert was one of several American composers who achieved success not only in larger symphonic forms, but also in shorter pieces for amateur music-making at home. These so-called “parlor” genres are the focus of this set, and are works which reflect the genteel sensibilities of those who purchased this music and performed it with their family and friends. These pieces represent popular genres of the time: waltzes, ragtime, and shorter “character pieces” which are brief evocations of a particular scene or sentiment. Many earlier European composers had cultivated works in the forms Herbert used yet his overall style—its earnestness, its directness of approach, its preference for lyricism over pathos—marks it as reflective of an aesthetic common in American parlor music of the time. 
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