Arthur Berger & Richard Donovan: Chamber Works
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL290     Release Date: 2010-10-15
Paul Jacobs, piano; Gilbert Kalish, piano; Columbia Chamber Ensemble; Gunther Schuller, Conductor; Adele Addison, soprano; Galimir String Quartet: Felix Galimir, violin; Gino Sambuco, violin; Samuel Rhodes, viola; Pierre Basseux, cello

Arthur Berger writes:

Three Pieces For Two Pianos were composed with no predetermined plan whatsoever. I was relying on a certain immediacy in the application of techniques I had been exploiting in other works of the years immediately preceding. I was beginning to feel that an artist could profit from striving towards an ideal something like the one proposed by the aesthetician D. W. Frail, although he had the appreciation of art in mind when he made the statement: "Ideal aesthetic knowledge, absolutely ready response, would bury the whole system of discriminations in our nerves and habits." Slavery to ingrained habit is, of course, hostile to creativity. But newly acquired habits of coping with details sometimes free one for concentrating upon broader aspects. In 1961 my habits of this order included widely-spaced sonorities spanning six or seven octaves; harmonies based on the content of two discrete halves of the chromatic scale (e.g., C to F and F-sharp to B — what George Perle calls `tropes'); fairly consistent deployment of all twelve tones (but if nothing is predetermined, serial order is, of course, unlikely).

Chamber Music For 13 Players is based on a 12-tone series that is symmetrical in that the second half is retrograde- inversionally related to the first. Fairly extensive use of simple canonic writing was determined by a desire to draw attention to the three- note segments. In its original form, as announced by the flute at the outset, the series is: E, F, E-flat; B, D, C-sharp; B-flat, A, C; A-flat, Fsharp, G. 

About his music on this record Richard Donovan wrote:

Music For Six was composed in 1961 primarily because the head of the Yale School of Music needed something that could be played by a group of faculty members. It is hoped that, as the sections unfold, players and listeners alike will be interested and
perhaps amused by the striking sonorities, good-humored jokes and allusions to once-popular tunes. The design is meant to suggest a free rondo.

Five Elizabethan Lyrics was composed over a twenty-five-year period, from 1932 to 1957, and was given its premiere at Yale, in 1957, with Helen Boatwright as soloist.”


This title from the CRI LP back catalog has been carefully transferred from the original master tape, and is now available from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV format(s).

We have preserved the original CRI LP catalog number for this title, preceded by the prefix NWCRL, to distinguish previously unavailable back catalog titles from those later reissued by CRI on compact disc.

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Various Artists

Arthur Berger & Richard Donovan: Chamber Works

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CD $12.99

Track Listing

Three Pieces for Two Pianos: I. Quarter Note = ca. 80
Arthur Berger
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Three Pieces for Two Pianos: II. Quarter Note = ca. 56
Arthur Berger
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Three Pieces for Two Pianos: III. Quarter Note = ca. 80
Arthur Berger
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Music for Six
Richard Donovan
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Five Elizabethan Lyrics: I. "Now Fie on Love..."
Richard Donovan
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Five Elizabethan Lyrics: II. "Fly Hence Shadows..."
Richard Donovan
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Five Elizabethan Lyrics: III. "When as the Mildest Month..."
Richard Donovan
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Five Elizabethan Lyrics: IV. "Weep Eyes, Break Heart!"
Richard Donovan
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Five Elizabethan Lyrics: V. "Ha ha! Ha ha! This World Doth Pass..."
Richard Donovan
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Chamber Music for 13 Players: I. Variations
Arthur Berger
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Chamber Music for 13 Players: II. Allegro moderato, leggiero
Arthur Berger
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