Music of Cowell, Pinkham & Hovhaness
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL109     Release Date: 2010-03-01
Among materials which have not been customarily used in older, European music, Cowell’s “tone clusters” rank as the most noticeable. He did not claim their invention, although in 1911 and 1912, when he first began to experiment with them, he was not aware that his predecessor in American iconoclasm, Charles Ives, had also been intrigued with their possibilities. The name, tone clusters, however, musical history owes to Cowell, as well as a number of fascinating ideas for their employment, some of which are exemplified in this recording. The virtuoso piece, Advertisement, for example, bases itself upon their usage, as does The Tides Of Manaunaun, although the final effect is strongly contrasted.

Another “shocking” idea which Henry Cowell introduced into his esthetic is that of playing inside the piano instead of outside. (The Banshee; Sinister Resonance; The Aeolian Harp, are so performed.) “You know,” he said, “I’ve done a lot of new things, not just to do something new, but because I imagined that that was the way to find out about music. For example, in the 1920’s it struck me that a person could play inside a piano, on the strings, just as easily as he could play on the keys. So I developed a number of systems to prove my thesis . . . Once I used an egg, a darning egg, to make the strings sound. And on other occasions, I’ve used paper cutters and ordinary spoons and pencils placed between the strings and vibrated. It creates a sonority like this—- Drrrrrr.” John Cage later used similar methods to create his “prepared pianos.”

Probably no musical instrument displaced from usage by the march of musical events has ever been so thoroughly returned to favor as has the harpsichord in recent years. During the 16th and 17th centuries, before invention of the “hammer” piano, the spruce and pungent timbre of the harpsichord (variously known as clavicembalo, cembalo, clavecin, and virginal) reigned supreme among the keyboard instruments. Indeed, even after its displacement by the pianoforte in concert life, its usefulness as an operatic accompanist continued for a long time. Composers of the Romantic period, however, neglected the instrument, and it remained for those of the 20th century to reinstate the clear, rational sonority of the quill plucked string to its deserved position of importance. Since 1948, the young American composer, Daniel Pinkham, and violinist Robert Brink, who are heard on this recording, have toured extensively in Europe and North America as the Brink- Pinkham Violin and Harpsichord Duo. They have performed not only standard literature of the 17th and 18th centuries, but contemporary works as well. All three pieces for violin and harpsichord here recorded were composed especially for the Duo.

This title from the CRI LP back catalog has been carefully transferred from the original master tape, and is now available 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).

We have preserved the original CRI LP catalog number for this title, preceded by the prefix NWCRL, to distinguish previously unavailable back catalog titles from those later reissued by CRI on compact disc. Please refer to the liner notes for information about the program.

***Please note that the newly-digitized CRI LP titles are priced at $12.99 (multiples excepted) and are not included in any of the special offers.***

Various Artists

Music of Cowell, Pinkham & Hovhaness

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $12.99

Track Listing

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Henry Cowell
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Banshee
Henry Cowell
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Sinister Resonance
Henry Cowell
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Aeolian Harp
Henry Cowell
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Tides of Manaunaun
Henry Cowell
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Lilt of the Reel
Henry Cowell
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Prelude for Violin and Harpsichord
Henry Cowell
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Concerto for Celeste and Harpsichord: I. Prelude
Daniel Pinkham
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Concerto for Celeste and Harpsichord: II. Ricercare
Daniel Pinkham
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Concerto for Celeste and Harpsichord: III. Canzona
Daniel Pinkham
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Duet for Violin and Harpsichord
Alan Hovhaness
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Cantilena and Capriccio: I. Cantilena
Daniel Pinkham
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Cantilena and Capriccio: II. Capriccio
Daniel Pinkham
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