Music of Flanagan, Heilner, Pinkham & Berger
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL143     Release Date: 2010-05-01

Imperial Philharmonic of Tokyo; William Strickland, conductor; Mitsuko Maki, soprano

Robert Brink, violin; Claude Jean Chiasson, harpsichord; Edward Low, celesta
The Brandeis Festival Orchestra; Izler Solomon, conductor

In William Flanagan's A Concert Ode the melody starts in the first bar and scarcely lets up until the end of the work. With the full orchestra at his command, he presents a large climax, in the short introduction, which proceeds straightaway to the body of the work: an abbreviated sonata form (Allegro maestoso). Subject II soon appears, introduced by the oboe and continued by the other winds. The development again calls for the full resources of the orchestra, and its climax leads directly to the recapitulation. A coda and the return of the introduction closes the work.

In the songs of Irwin Heilner we encounter a simplicity that is all too deceiving, though its harmonic moves are reduced to the simplest. As with lieder, the moods suddenly change, and the demands on the listener therefore are many. Bass drones and rhythms, and melodic decoration, all evoke the Chinese. Exposed wind parts and the openness of the scoring have a similar function. The solo voice closely follows the text (printed below), and song-forms predominate throughout. Rehearings will further show these solid but epigrammatic qualities.

The first section of Daniel Pinkham's Concertante No. 1 is an accompanied violin solo (Cantilena: Andante), in large song-form, A-B-a (the repeated ‘a’ is shortened). Dissonance is exposed and dynamic, with a rhythmic lilt that ends only too quickly. And the second movement is a contrast (Burlesca: Allegro sciolto). The proof of the contrast lies in one of the most wonderful of all musical phenomena. Each unfolding bar of the Burlesca at the same time re-defines and reshapes the movement preceding. If one is unfamiliar with this observation, be assured that it is worth a trial. The form, additive and open, is strikingly improvisatory. The violin is impassioned and its assertions bump squarely into the melodies and accompanying figures.

But of all this music the Serenade Concertante, by Arthur Berger, is the most strongly contrapuntal. Every voice and section assumes multiple meaning. A mosaic of meaning that only too easily can be labeled "intellectual." Could any listener fail to stumble over such a tag? Yet, if slowed tothe point of examination, its harmonic material will be as clear as Heilner's. After all, three primary harmonies account for all sounds, from Bach to Bartok, in exact analogy to the three primary colors, which account for all other colors!

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.

Imperial Philharmonic of Tokyo

Music of Flanagan, Heilner, Pinkham & Berger

MP3/320 $7.99
FLAC $7.99
WAV $7.99
CD-R $7.99
CD-Rs come in a protective sleeve; no print booklet or jewel case included.


Track Listing

Concert Ode
William Flanagan
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Chinese Songs: I. Chu Yeh
Irwin Heilner
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Chinese Songs: II. The Long Roads
Irwin Heilner
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Chinese Songs: III. Lo-yang
Irwin Heilner
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Chinese Songs: IV. Regret
Irwin Heilner
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Concertante No. 1
Daniel Pinkham
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Serenade Concertante
Arthur Berger
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