Karl Korte - A Retrospective
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR882     Release Date: 2001-01-01
Doris Stevenson, piano; Mark Peskanov, violin; New York Woodwind Quintet: (Samuel Baron, flute; Ronald Roseman, oboe; David Glazer, clarinet; Ralph Froelich, French horn; Arthur Weisberg, bassoon); Albert Hamme, saxophone; Elizabeth Korte, piano; Raymond Des Roches, percussion; Christine Schadeberg, soprano; Christopher Oldfather, piano; Albert Regni, saxophone; University of Texas Percussion Ensemble: (Joe Clark, percussion; Steve Harris, percussion; Mark Singer, percussion; Bruce Radek, percussion); George Frock, Conductor


The history of 20-century American concert music tends to concentrate on schools of composition and specific cultural centers. The former divides into experimentalists, minimalists, serialists and neo-romantics, to name a few. The latter tends to break down into the East and West Coasts, further refined into New York and California. As a result, a vast body of composers and their work, made by composers in the middle of the country, flies under the critical and historical radar. And that “middle” is more than just geographical. In the Midwest and West, composers (usually affiliated with conservatories or universities) have been deeply aware of currents percolating on both sides of the country, often more so than their counterparts on either coast. these musicians have often been far more open and less self-conscious in their blending of techniques and languages thought incompatible by “true believers.” Their attitude is tolerant and synthetic. Such a composer is Karl Korte.

A rich and inclusive harmonic practice can be seen throughout all the pieces on this collection. The romantic tonal harmony of the Fantasy sets a standard for beauty and expression that is pursued, no matter what the language. While more “systematic” in its nature, in Matrix and Symmetrics the tight motivic organization guarantees that one still hears phrases which have real direction, and an overall sounds which never seems random or coincidental. The Five New Zealand Songs are fearless in the way they mix materials; to take a single example, the first is strongly grounded with tonal progressions, but ornamented with a layer of atonal filigree which is essential to interpreting the meaning of the text. And by the time we reach the Epigrams, the range has expanded yet again. “Tomorrow” is a sophisticated remembrance of the composer's initial neoclassical practice.

These pieces use modality freely, Spanish-tinged in “Lullaby for Leah” and Indonesian in “In Memoriam.” “Vashti” and “Icicles” incorporate far more chromatic materials. And the aforementioned “Fidgity Funk” is down-and-dirty.

And so, over almost a half-century, Korte has carved out a personal, non-dogmatic body of work which both reflects the trends of the period and places his own personal stamp on them. His career, with its devotion to individual expression and a refusal to accede to any single “ism,” is a reminder that those who look only to the traditional centers of musical activity do so at their peril, for they can miss art of genuine substance in the process.
—Robert Carl

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

Karl Korte - A Retrospective

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $15.99

Track Listing

Fantasy for Violin and Piano
Karl Korte
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Matrix
Karl Korte
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Five New Zealand Songs: Response
Karl Korte
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Five New Zealand Songs: My Mother Spinning
Karl Korte
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Five New Zealand Songs: Judas Iscariot
Karl Korte
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Five New Zealand Songs: My Father Today
Karl Korte
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Five New Zealand Songs: Girl, Boy, Flower, Bicycle
Karl Korte
Buy
Symmetrics
Karl Korte
Buy
Epigrams: Tomorrow
Karl Korte
Buy
Epigrams: Lullaby for Leah
Karl Korte
Buy
Epigrams: In Memoriam
Karl Korte
Buy
Epigrams: Vashti
Karl Korte
Buy
Epigrams: Icicles
Karl Korte
Buy
Epigrams: Fidgity Funk
Karl Korte
Buy

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