Harvey Sollberger: A New York Retrospective
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR743     Release Date: 1997-01-01

Group for Contemporary Music: (Jeanne Benjamin Ingraham, violin; Scott Nickrenz, viola; Peter Rosenfeld, cello; Fred Sherry, cello;Kenneth Fricker, bass; Gerardo Levy, flute; Harvey Sollberger, flute; Sophie Sollberger, alto flute; Josef Marx, oboe; Efrain Guigui, clarinet; Donald MacCourt, bassoon; Richard Fitz, percussion; Raymond Des Roches, percussion; Charles Wuorinen, piano; Gunther Schuller, Conductor); Da Capo Chamber Players: (Joel Lester, violin; Helen Harbison, cello; Patricia Spencer, flute; Allen Blustine, clarinet; Joan Tower, piano; Harvey Sollberger, Conductor); Aleck Karis, piano

It pleases me to introduce this compilation of works of mine composed in New York City during the eighteen-year period from 1964 to 1982. I arrived in New York in 1960 as a 22-year old student and left it 22 years later, much transformed by years of work amidst the rich associations and dazzling intensity of the city's musical and artistic life. These were years first of study (with Jack Beeson and Otto Luening), then of dedication to high ideals of performance as embodied, especially, in the Group for Contemporary Music...

In Chamber Variations I now hear resonances evoking three composers whose living presence loomed large in my world of those days: first, Edgard Varèse who supported the Group in its first years, seeing in us, he said, a continuation of his concert-giving activities with Carlos Salzedo in New York during the 1920s; then, Ralph Shapey, who urged me to go for the “long line” - Chamber Variations is a direct response to talk with Ralph; and finally, Stefan Wolpe whose antic imagination and protean fertility combined with an utter helplessness in the face of “practical” matters continue to beguile me.

The other works on this disc involve me as executant in contexts that were as typical as they were crucial for me during these years. The Divertimento was written for the flute, cello, and piano combo—initially the nucleus for the Group—of Fred Sherry, Charles Wuorinen and myself. It began life as eleven short movements, several of which became conjoined to issue forth as the seven-movement work presented here.

Riding the Wind I was the outgrowth of a period of extensive research into the cataloguing and application of that whole new range of sound resources for the flute that came to be known as extended techniques. The title is derived from the writings of an ancient Chinese philosopher, Lieh Tzu, who in the end, ecstasy attained, cannot tell whether he is riding on the wind or the wind is riding on him...

Angel and Stone is what I call one of my “white elephant” pieces: hard, cumbersome, and long — and yet dear to my heart like a strangely “off” but lovable and profound child. Seen from the present, the piece represents something of a breakthrough for me into a kaleidoscopic new world of stylistic diversity and genre bending (a flute and piano piece in which the players declaim poetry) and in this sense cognate to my Life Study (just released on CRI CD 738) composed the following year. Angel and Stone is dedicated to the memory of pianist Robert Miller with whom I performed parts of it.

Finally, thanks are due once more to the truly exceptional performers on this disc, many of them old friends, without whose efforts these scores would remain mute and inglorious. For me to go forward I needed them, and they were there. My appreciation of their efforts has deepened with the years. 
— Harvey Sollberger, November, 1996


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).

Harvey Sollberger

Harvey Sollberger: A New York Retrospective

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Track Listing

Chamber Variations
Harvey Sollberger
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Divertimento for Flute, Cello, & Piano: I. -
Harvey Sollberger
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Divertimento for Flute, Cello, & Piano: II. -
Harvey Sollberger
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Divertimento for Flute, Cello, & Piano: III. -
Harvey Sollberger
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Divertimento for Flute, Cello, & Piano: IV. -
Harvey Sollberger
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Divertimento for Flute, Cello, & Piano: V. -
Harvey Sollberger
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Divertimento for Flute, Cello, & Piano: VI. -
Harvey Sollberger
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Divertimento for Flute, Cello, & Piano: VII. -
Harvey Sollberger
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Riding The Wind I
Harvey Sollberger
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Angel and Stone
Harvey Sollberger
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