Contemporary Piano Music
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL306     Release Date: 2010-10-15

Robert Miller, piano

Charles Wuorinen writes:

“I composed my Sonata during the second half of 1969, for Robert Miller; many years of close musical collaboration had given me a respect for his abilities that impelled me to undertake the work as a testimony of regard.

“It is in two movements, but the work is essentially a single unbroken continuity. Thus the hiatus between Parts I and II is more a breathing space than a major point of punctuation. An ornamented two-voice polyphony obtains throughout, but these two structural voices are frequently laden with supplementary material, or otherwise partitioned into a more elaborate surface counterpoint than the two-line origin might at first suggest. The entire work unfolds as a large-scale projection of the intervals (in both time and pitch) of its basic set, and the large form of the work may be said to be an articulated response to these basic relations. For the rest, the surface of the work is a celebration of the virtuosity of the performer for whom it was composed.”

Robert Miller writes:

Form was one of [Stefan] Wolpe's favorite compositions. When he was senior composer-in-residence at the Bennington Composers' Conference, during the summer of 1965, this was the work he singled out for performance. It is a short work, clear and concise, with a wide range of contrast. It is a fine example of his later style, and was extraordinarily well received by the audience.

“In 1969, when Parkinson's disease was rapidly consuming him, I asked Stefan if he would write another piano work, since he had not written one since Form in 1959. He said that he had intended to write a work to complement it. Fortunately, he was invited to the MacDowell Colony that summer, where, for the first time in a long while, he could escape from the telephone and the busy-ness of New York City. He was also invited again to the Composers' Conference and when he appeared there in the middle of August he took me completely by surprise when he handed over the manuscript of Form IV: Broken Sequences. In spite of the severe physical strain that writing notes on paper imposed, he had composed this vibrant work in one month at the MacDowell Colony.

Yehudi Wyner writes:

“The composition of Three Short Fantasies spans 8 years. The first, fluently sketched in 1963, was evoked by the mysterious sonority of Stravinsky's Symphonies for Wind Instruments. For a number of years I set aside this Fantasy, unsure of its value (repelled, attracted, indifferent) until at last it persuaded me. I dedicated it to friends, P and B, under the title Piccolo Armonie.

“The second, subtitled Piccola Fantasia Davenniana, written during the summer of 1966, was a birthday present for the pianist Ward Davenny. The pitch structure derives from a simple system based on his name.

Fantasy III was completed expressly for Robert Miller to play in 1971, and is dedicated to him. His interest in the first two pieces and his unruffled confidence that the new piece would be ready in time helped turn long speculation into reality.

George Perle writes:

“The Toccata, like almost everything I've written but rather more decisively than many of the pieces that precede it, I think, reflects my preoccupation through all these years with something one might provisionally call 'post-diatonic tonality.' If I tried to say anything more about this concept in this brief note, it would be misunderstood. Besides, I hesitate to tell listeners in advance what they ought to hear in a new work of mine, beyond what is already implied in the title itself. The piece was originally called 'Toccata in D,' but I thought this might imply too much, and perhaps some things that I didn't want to imply. When a colleague told me that he considered this title inflammatory, I decided that I would simply call the piece Toccata.”


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.***

Robert Miller

Contemporary Piano Music

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Track Listing

Sonata, 1969: I. First Movement
Charles Wuorinen
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Sonata, 1969: II. Second Movement
Charles Wuorinen
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Form
Stefan Wolpe
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Form IV - Broken Sequences
Stefan Wolpe
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Three Short Fantasies: No. 1, Piccole Armonie
Yehudi Wyner
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Three Short Fantasies: No. 2, Piccola Fantasia Davenniana
Yehudi Wyner
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Three Short Fantasies: No. 3, For Robert Miller
Yehudi Wyner
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Toccata
George Perle
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