Music of Fischer, Nagel, Chou & Lessard
When Irwin Fischer was in Budapest in 1936, studying composition with Zoltán Kodály, he had the good fortune to be taken by Kodály to an annual folk festival where peasants from Hungary’s various provinces presented their regional folk songs and dances. These festivals aroused great interest among artists and musicians, and Béla Bartók and Léonid Massine were among those attending the gathering which Fischer witnessed.

“My interest in Hungarian folk music was awakened by these programs,” Fisher comments, “and I subsequently borrowed the title of the series, ‘Perlenstrauss,’ or ‘The Pearly Bouquet’ for my suite. (The suite was later renamed “Hungarian Set.”) Fischer chose eight songs from among various popular collections he found in Budapest that summer. We hear the melodies successively introduced, with the celeste taking the lead in playing the fourth song, which the composer regards as the central thematic core of the Set. A development section follows, using material from the different songs in combination, voiced by the various string sections in turn.

No more fitting work could represent Robert Nagel here than this Trumpet Concerto, for he is known as one of the country's most distinguished trumpet players. The composer himself summarizes his work as follows: “The Concerto for Trumpet and Strings consists of three contrasting movements. The first opens with a lyric trumpet theme in moderate time, followed by two rhythmic themes and a recapitulation in modified form. The second movement begins with a slow string introduction followed by a declamatory trumpet theme which leads into a lyric theme with interlude and return to the lyric theme which closes the movement. A gay trumpet tune starts the last movement, after which there appear several contrasting sections and finally a return to the first material followed by s short coda section which concludes the work.”

Chou Wn-Chung’s Landscapes, composed in 1949, is derived from three traditional Chinese melodies, each of which constitutes the basis for one of the three “landscapes.” They are “Under the Cliff in the Bay,” “The Sorrow of Parting,” and “One Streak of Dying Light.” The melodies date many centuries back, although the poems now associated with them (given below in the composer’s own translations) date from the eighteenth, seventeenth and fourteenth centuries, respectively. The work itself, divided, as indicated, into three parts, is made continuous by the use of transitional material taken from the first section. The bridge from the second section, described by the composer as “a dialogue in monochrome for oboe and English horn soli,” consists of the first phrase of the first section mingled with the first phrase of the third section: At the end there is a brief return to the ending of the first section.

In the summer of 1952, in connection with a grant he had received from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, John Lessard was asked to write a piece especially for the Little Orchestra Society, to be played by them during the 1952-53 concert season. Lessard described how he decided to write a work for this particular instrumental combination:
“I had already written a Concerto for twelve wind instruments that was played the year before by the Little Orchestra Society, and when I met with the conductor of the Society, Thomas Scherman, to discuss what kind of piece I should write for them he immediately suggested that I write a Concerto for three of his very expert wind players. It was played that year in New York by Mr. Scherman and the Little Orchestra Society. I made one addition to the original suggestion of Mr. Scherman. In the first and last movements I used another solo group — a string quartet. The musical ideas I had and the way I used them sprang from the fascination of using these three groups in answer, together, and against each other.”

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.
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Peninsula Festival Orchestra

Music of Fischer, Nagel, Chou & Lessard

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Track Listing

Hungarian Set: I. Allegretto
Irwin Fischer
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Hungarian Set: II.Andante
Irwin Fischer
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Hungarian Set: III. Poco allegro
Irwin Fischer
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Hungarian Set: IV. Andantino
Irwin Fischer
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Hungarian Set: V. Adagio
Irwin Fischer
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Hungarian Set: VI. Allegro moderato
Irwin Fischer
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Hungarian Set: VII; VIII. Allegro giocoso - tranquillo - allegro giusto
Irwin Fischer
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Concerto for Trumpet and Strings Op. 8: I.
Robert Nagel
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Concerto for Trumpet and Strings Op. 8: II.
Robert Nagel
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Concerto for Trumpet and Strings Op. 8: III.
Robert Nagel
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Landscapes
Chou Wen-Chung
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Concerto for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, String Quartet and String Orchestra: I. Allegretto moderato
John Lessard
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Concerto for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, String Quartet and String Orchestra: II. Andante con moto
John Lessard
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Concerto for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, String Quartet and String Orchestra: III. Presto
John Lessard
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