George Rochberg: Music for the Magic Theater
Music for the Magic Theater Octet; A Grand Fantasia New York Chamber Ensemble, Stephen Rogers Radcliffe, conductor “I understood it all. I understood Mozart, and somewhere behind me I heard his ghastly laughter.” George Rochberg (b. 1918) cites this passage from Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf as a backdrop for his Music for the Magic Theater, for fifteen players. The central theme in the book — a magic theater meshes reality and fantasy, past and future, in search of new apertures to a living present — inspired Rochberg to embrace “a kind of sound-collage in which the past and present are quite literally juxtaposed.” Rochberg summons a wide variety of composers, including Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Webern, Varese, Stockhausen, Miles Davis, and of course Rochberg himself. Despite sharp contrasts and what some may take for a complete absence of logic, Rochberg combines his materials in such a manner as to suggest their inevitable association in a dreamscape that is paradoxically anchored and realistic. In his Octet; A Grand Fantasia, Rochberg adopts the traditional ensemble of mixed strings and wind octet, dating from the time of Schubert, and designates the work a “Grand Fantasia” to emphasize formal freedom and transformation of melodic content.

New York Chamber Ensemble

George Rochberg: Music for the Magic Theater

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Track Listing

Music for the Magic Theater: Act I
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Music for The Magic Theater: Act II
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Music for the Magic Theater: Act III
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Octet; A Grand Fantasia: I. Declamando, tragico
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Octet; A Grand Fantasia: II. Largo; recitando
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Octet; A Grand Fantasia: III. Tranquillo; flessibile; rubato molto
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Octet; A Grand Fantasia: IV. Allegro marziale; rigoroso
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Octet; A Grand Fantasia: V. Adagio molto - Tempo primo
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Octet; A Grand Fantasia: VI. Lento; tranquillo
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Octet; A Grand Fantasia: VII. Cadenza (horn and violin)
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Octet; A Grand Fantasia: VIII. Cadenza (flute and viola)
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Octet; A Grand Fantasia: IX. Cadenza (clarinet and cello)
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Octet; A Grand Fantasia: X. Molto adagio
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Octet; A Grand Fantasia: XI. Allegro marziale; rigoroso
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Octet; A Grand Fantasia: XII. Largo, recitando
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