Johanna Beyer: Sticky Melodies
Liner Notes   Cat. No. 80678     Release Date: 2008-01-01

Astra Chamber Music Society, John McCaughey, director

With this double-CD set much of Johanna Magdalena Beyer’s (1888-1944) music can be heard for the first time. Remarkably, all of this music was written between 1930 and 1943 by an important immigrant American artist whose works, until recently, have been little known, rarely heard, and not well understood.

Beyer was part of the New York City modernist group of composers that included Henry Cowell, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Charles Seeger, Carl Ruggles, and others. But only within the last few years has her music begun to be discussed alongside the music of these other composers. During her lifetime she heard only a few of her pieces (which number over forty). Of those works that did receive performances, it seems likely that most were performed a small number of times.

For various reasons, this large body of historically important modernist work from the 1930s has been almost completely overlooked. Perhaps not so parenthetically, it also happens to have been written by a woman, and one who seemed to have little skill in promoting her own work. Regardless, this music needs no added “hook” to interest us: It is richly scored, unusual in its voice and its craft, and forward-looking. I continue to discover new beauty in this music even after twenty years of involvement with it.

Beyer is part of the history of twentieth-century American experimental music, and deserves to be received as such. The nature of her role is, perhaps, yet to be fully understood: Our knowledge of her work is still sketchy at best. We owe a debt of gratitude to John McCaughey and the Astra Chamber Music Society for undertaking this fascinating project with such a deep sense of commitment, love for the work, and extraordinary skill. Sixty-four years after her death, we can finally hear a great deal of her work for the first time in these excellent recordings.                        

                                                         —Larry Polansky

 

As featured in ISOLARE, "a dark and melancholic short film of confinement, directed by Angel Fonseca, with Maëly Fonseca."

The Astra Chamber Music Society

Johanna Beyer: Sticky Melodies

MP3/320 $17.99
FLAC $17.99
WAV $17.99
2xCD $31.98
Suite for Clarinet I: I. Presto
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Suite for Clarinet I: II. Largo
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Suite for Clarinet I: III. Moderato
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Suite for Clarinet I: IV. Rallentando
Johanna Beyer
Buy
String Quartet No. 1: I. Allegro
Johanna Beyer
Buy
String Quartet No. 1: II. Lento
Johanna Beyer
Buy
String Quartet No. 1: III. Moderato
Johanna Beyer
Buy
String Quartet No. 1: IV. Presto
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Three Songs for Soprano and Clarinet: I. Total Eclipse
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Three Songs for Soprano and Clarinet: II. To Be
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Three Songs for Soprano and Clarinet: III. Universal-Local
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Bees
Johanna Beyer
Buy
The Federal Music Project
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Movement for Two Pianos
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Suite for Clarinet Ib: Giocoso
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Suite for Clarinet Ib: Lamentation
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Suite for Clarinet Ib: Contrast (Sonnet Form)
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Suite for Clarinet Ib: Accelerando
Johanna Beyer
Buy
String Quartet No. 2: Allegretto
Johanna Beyer
Buy
String Quartet No. 2: Largo
Johanna Beyer
Buy
String Quartet No. 2: Moderato
Johanna Beyer
Buy
String Quartet No. 2: Allegro quasi Presto
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Ballad of the Star-Eater
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Movement for Double Bass and Piano
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Three Pieces for Choir: I. The Main Deep
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Three Pieces for Choir: II. The Composers Forum Laboratory
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Three Pieces for Choir: III. The People, Yes!
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Sonatina in C: I. Allegro brioso
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Sonatina in C: II. Scherzo
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Sonatina in C: Andante
Johanna Beyer
Buy
Sonatina in C: Sciolto
Johanna Beyer
Buy