Barber, Gruenberg & Bloch: Piano Works
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL295     Release Date: 2010-10-15

Zola Shaulis, piano

Samuel Barber's four gemlike Excursions (1945) are trips of small classical forms taken into local regions—or at least regional idioms—of America.

Louis Gruenberg was born in Poland in 1884, came to the U.S.A. as an infant and died in Los Angeles in 1964. He studied piano with Busoni and pursued a pianist's career in Europe until 1919, when he returned to the U.S. and devoted himself entirely to composing.

During the period when "modern music" was going through its traumatic early years, he was one of those most active in promoting its performance. He wrote several operas, five symphonies and other large-scale works, some of which were considered scandalous because of their use of jazz rhythms. His most noted work in retrospect was his opera, The Emperor Jones, which starred Lawrence Tibbett at the Metropolitan Opera.

Polychromatics Op. 16, (1924) are eight brief and evocative piano pieces, sometimes of dazzling texture, whose titles explain (or obscure) them sufficiently: 1. Instead of a Prolog; 2. Out of the Mist; 3. The Lady with the Damask-Mantle; 4. The Knight of the Black Pool; 5. Festivities; 6. A Rag- Time Fragment; 7. Invocation; 8. Instead of an Epilog.

Ernest Bloch was born in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1880 and died in Portland, Oregon in 1959. He was among the most eminent of contemporary composers, having taught and influenced a whole generation of Americans, and having composed works of major scope and interest. His Schelomo, a Hebrew rhapsody for cello and orchestra, has become a standard repertory item. During his first period of residence in the U.S.A., devoted to teaching at the Cleveland and then the San Francisco Conservatory, he wrote an "epic rhapsody," America which was played one day in New York and the next simultaneously in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco. In 1939, after a decade in Switzerland, he returned to the U.S.A. and entered his period of composition in a new-classical style.

Bloch's only Piano Sonata was composed in 1935. It is a dramatic statement in an individualistic style that has been described as "modern European." Its three movements are played without pause.


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.

***Please note that the newly-digitized CRI LP titles are priced at $12.99 (multiples excepted) and are not included in any of the special offers.***

Zola Shaulis

Barber, Gruenberg & Bloch: Piano Works

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $12.99

Track Listing

Excursions, Op. 20: I. Un poco allegro
Samuel Barber
Buy
Excursions, Op. 20: II. In slow blues tempo
Samuel Barber
Buy
Excursions, Op. 20: III. Allegretto
Samuel Barber
Buy
Excursions, Op. 20: IV. Allegro molto
Samuel Barber
Buy
Polychromatics, Op. 16: I. Instead of a Prolog
Louis Gruenberg
Buy
Polychromatics, Op. 16: II. Out of the Mist
Louis Gruenberg
Buy
Polychromatics, Op. 16: III. The Lady With the Damask-Mantle
Louis Gruenberg
Buy
Polychromatics, Op. 16: IV. The Knight of the Black Pool
Louis Gruenberg
Buy
Polychromatics, Op. 16: V: Festivities
Louis Gruenberg
Buy
Polychromatics, Op. 16: VI: A Rag-Time Fragment
Louis Gruenberg
Buy
Polychromatics, Op. 16: VII. Invocation
Louis Gruenberg
Buy
Polychromatics, Op. 16: VIII. Instead of an Epilog
Louis Gruenberg
Buy
Sonata: I. Maestoso ed energico
Ernest Bloch
Buy
Sonata: II. Pastorale
Ernest Bloch
Buy
Sonata: III. Moderato alla marcia
Ernest Bloch
Buy