Chester Biscardi: At the Still Point
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR686     Release Date: 2007-01-01

Tara Helen O’Connor, flute; Edmund Niemann, piano; Judith Bettina, soprano; James Goldsworthy, piano; Anthony de Mare, piano; Robert Weirich, piano; Robert Dick, flute; Keith Underwood, flute; Jeanne Ingraham, violin; Susan Palma, flute; Gilbert Kalish, piano; American Composers Orchestra; Paul Lustig Dunkel, conductor


This recording represents a selection of my music written over an eighteen-year period. One of my concerns in the mid- 1970s was to integrate the theoretical and technical elements of music with philosophical ideas. For instance, At the Still Point (1977) and Mestiere (1979) use the technique of “frozen registration” to illustrate poetic images: the “still point” where past and future meet in T. S. Eliot’s “Burnt Norton,” and the integrity of one’s life and work implied in the title of Cesare Pavese’s Il Mestiere di Vivere (The Business of Living). Tenzone (1975), the earliest piece on this disc, relies on the interplay between two poets in medieval Italy. These works also reveal an interest in the ways musical ideas and forms are inspired by literature and painting, influences that continue to inspire my most recent compositions.

In the 1980s, I wanted to explore other materials and began to think in different harmonic languages. For example, my Piano Concerto (1983) acknowledges a lifelong passion for the music of George Gershwin and Aaron Copland, and it incorporates their sounds without imitating them. At the same time, I developed new structural bases, as in Piano Sonata (1986, rev. 1987), which adopts the modular arrangements of a triptych lithograph by Jasper Johns. Incitation to Desire (Tango) (1984), Traverso (1987), and Companion Piece (for Morton Feldman) (1989/1991) follow these stylistic directions.

The most recent composition on this recording is a song cycle that grew directly from my work with text and characters in Tight-Ropes, an opera I wrote with Henry Butler in 1985. In The Gift of Life (1990–93), I chose texts according to their power to generate musical images concerning memory, time, and the cyclical nature of existence, themes that are recurrent in my music.
—Chester Biscardi


This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available for order 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).

Various Artists

Chester Biscardi: At the Still Point

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CD $15.99

Track Listing

Traverso
Chester Biscardi
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Gift of Life
Chester Biscardi
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Companion Piece (for Morton Feldman)
Chester Biscardi
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Incitation to Desire (Tango)
Chester Biscardi
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Mestiere
Chester Biscardi
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Tenzone
Chester Biscardi
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At The Still Point
Chester Biscardi
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