Music of Creston, Hively, Haufrecht & Sanjuan
Music of Creston, Hively, Haufrecht & Sanjuan
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL111     Release Date: 2010-04-01

Distinctive though each one of these four musics is in choice and technical application of specific materials, they share a certain broad community of intention and approach. Each is about something in particular, each a very personal, in some degree quasi-programmatic, response by its composer to a definable complex of remembered or projected musical occasions. In each, the response is communicated with relative freedom from strict formal inhibitions, its pattern determined and articulated by rhythms that are strongly kinesthetic. Whether actually developed out of dance forms or not, all are compositions that carry strong implications of ordered dance movement.

Paul Creston's Dance Overture, completed in December, 1954, was commissioned for performance at the 1955 convention of the National Federation of Music Clubs, held in Miami. It is in the fullest sense an occasional piece, in which the composer has posed the problem of writing music that has its own integrity and at the same time serves to discharge his function as musician-laureate to a particular event in a particular milieu — a problem solved here by the pleasant device of developing out of a single basic  theme successive  idealizations of dance forms identified with the  nations whose banners have been fixed in the sands of Florida. Thus Dance Overture is a four-step permutation of a basic musical idea into (1) a Spanish bolero; (2) an English country-dance; (3) a French loure; and  (4), climactically, an American square-dance, with all,  of course, colored by the personal accent of the composer.

Contemporary with Paul Creston, but of quite different background and experience,  Wells Hively has ripened more slowly as a composer in self-sufficient forms. Summer Holiday (Rive Gauche), which dates from 1944, derives its double title from two circumstances: It was composed during an actual summer holiday spent on the  shores of upper Lake Michigan; and it is, more subjectively, intended as a “nostalgic and playful . . . recapturing of the  happier  moments  of  music-student days once  wonderfully lived on the Left Bank (Rive Gauche) of the Seine . . . to pay tribute to a dreamlike phase of youth . . . full of insouciance and sentiment, carefree and naive —  qualities still findable, even in Paris.”  So the holiday and the nostalgia, the shores, of Lake Michigan and the Rive Gauche of the Seine, in effect become each other  in  the  idea  for  the  music, and are discussed there, with the repose-yet-excitement  of retrospect, in a conversational, informally-ordered Rondo.

Square Set (for String Orchestra) has its oldest roots in the composer Herbert Haufrecht's West Virginia period, when part of his duties involved the organization of Saturday night square dances, with callers and the Riddle-banjo-guitar string band to be recruited.

The title refers to the traditional set of four couples basic to square dancing, and also to the customary unit of three dances that make a “set,” including a jig and a reel, and (in this instance) a clog dance, which can be called a heavy-boot precursor of tap-dancing. The Reel has two themes, one a bustling rhythmic figure, the other more properly a tune (in fact, a rather thoroughly altered and subsumed folk versioning of Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay!) The Clog Dance is a vigorously accented episode, with the clog-beats indicated. The Jig Tune, according to the composer, was suggested by the concertina-accordion playing of a Mr. George Van Kleek, a blacksmith of Samsonville, N.Y. — harmonically simple, as concertina music necessarily is, and freely uneven in rhythm, with a phrase now compressed, a phrase now extended, as if the music were accommodating itself to the needs of humanly imprecise dancers.

Pedro Sanjuan's La Macumba (Ritual Symphony) was composed in 1949, on a grant-in-aid from the Carnegie Foundation and Converse College. In the subtitle, the operative word is “ritual”; as used here, the word “symphony” is not to be taken at its classical-formal valuation, but simply as signifying “a sonorous ensemble . . . and a unity among elements.” The main title refers to the macumba (otherwise, variably, cabildo or bembé) — the shrine where, from earliest colonial days, Afro-Cuban slaves, mostly transported from the west coast of Africa, participated in animistic and ecstatically magical non-Christian religious observances of the sort generally referred to the general heading of voodoo in this country, under the guidance of the babalaò, or priest. It is of these rites and especially the mysteries of écue, the spirit of noises and sounds that the composer treats in La Macumba, not, however, in terms of any literal transcriptions of tunes and rhythms, but in terms of his quite personal impressions of them. His composition is an evocation in contemporary terms of the incantations and dances and chants of this protean, exotic cult.

[Excerpted from the liner notes by James Hinton, Jr.]

This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available as a burn-on-demand CD (CD-R) or download in MP3/320, FLAC or WAV formats. CD-Rs come in a protective sleeve; no print booklet or jewel case included. Full liner notes are accessible via the link above.

Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia - Roma

Music of Creston, Hively, Haufrecht & Sanjuan

MP3/320 $7.99
FLAC $7.99
WAV $7.99
CD-R $7.99
CD-Rs come in a protective sleeve; no print material or jewel case included.
A *.pdf of the notes may be accessed here free of charge.
   Liner Notes

Track Listing

Dance Overture
Paul Creston
Summer Holiday
Wells Hively
Square Set: I. Reel
Herbert Haufrecht
Square Set: II. Clog Dance
Herbert Haufrecht
Square Set: III. Jig Tune
Herbert Haufrecht
La Macumba
Pedro Sanjuan

You may also like