Leo Ornstein: Complete Works For Cello And Piano
Liner Notes   Cat. No. 80655     Release Date: 2007-01-01

Joshua Gordon, cello; Randall Hodgkinson, piano

Although best known for a collection of radical early works, throughout his life Leo Ornstein (1893-2002) wrote in diverse styles. Such stylistic eclecticism confounded his listeners, which, in turn, may explain why he chose to retire from the concert stage in order to follow his muse away from public pressure and scrutiny. Ornstein's music blends lyricism, exotic atmospheres, innovative tone clusters, and dramatic rhythmic drive, greatly influenced by Debussy, Scriabin, and Eastern European Jewish chant. While many recordings exist of the works for cello and piano by better-known composers such as Beethoven, Brahms, and Shostakovich, those of many other historical figures like Ornstein are only now being given the recognition they deserve.

Given the character, drama, and strength of Ornstein's music, a recording of his collected cello works has long been overdue. Ornstein himself considered these works to be among his most significant. In a conversation with Vivian Perlis he remarked, "Some day, if you get a chance, you really ought to study those Six Preludes for Cello and Piano. I believe, frankly, that it's probably one of the best pieces of music that I've written, one of the soundest. I think if any music is going to last, I have a feeling that may be it."

Of the many works he composed for cello and piano, surprisingly, only the first Cello Sonata from 1919 and the Six Preludes from 1930 have ever been recorded. This is the first time that all of these works, four of which are world-premiere recordings, appear together on CD.

Reviews

The New York Times (September 16, 2007)

The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ and North Jersey/NYC metro)

Joshua Gordon

Leo Ornstein: Complete Works For Cello And Piano

MP3/320 $9.99
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WAV $9.99
CD $15.99

Track Listing

Six Preludes For Cello And Piano: I. Moderato Sostenuto
Leo Ornstein
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Six Preludes For Cello And Piano: II. Con Moto
Leo Ornstein
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Six Preludes For Cello And Piano: III. Presto
Leo Ornstein
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Six Preludes For Cello And Piano: IV. Andante Non Troppo
Leo Ornstein
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Six Preludes For Cello And Piano: V. Non Troppo (Quasi Improvisato)
Leo Ornstein
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Six Preludes For Cello And Piano: VI. Allegro Agitato
Leo Ornstein
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Composition 1 For Cello And Piano
Leo Ornstein
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Sonata No. 1 For Cello And Piano, Op. 52: I. Allegro Appassionato
Leo Ornstein
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Sonata No. 1 For Cello And Piano, Op. 52: II. Andante Sostenuto
Leo Ornstein
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Sonata No. 1 For Cello And Piano, Op. 52: III. scherzo (vivo, ma non troppo)
Leo Ornstein
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Sonata No. 1 For Cello And Piano, Op. 52: IV. moderato (con moto)
Leo Ornstein
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Two Pieces For Cello And Piano, Op.33: I. Andante
Leo Ornstein
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Two Pieces For Cello And Piano, Op.33: II. Allegro ma non troppo
Leo Ornstein
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Sonata No. 2 For Cello And Piano
Leo Ornstein
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