Music of George Rochberg, Vol. 2
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR769     Release Date: 1997-01-01
Nancy Allen, harp; Carol Wincenc, flute; Norman Fischer, cello; Mark Sokol, violin; George Rochberg, piano; Janice Harsanyi, soprano; Philadelphia String Quartet: (Irwin Eisenberg, violin; Veda Reynolds, violin; Alan Iglitzin, viola; Charles Brennand, cello)

Having established his career at mid-century as one of America’s most eloquent serialists, George Rochberg became perhaps the first of his generation to turn his back on the academicism that had increasingly alienated the public from contemporary music. “The over intense manner of serialism and its tendency to inhibit physical pulse and rhythm led me to question a style which made it virtually impossible to express serenity, tranquillity, grace, wit, energy,” he wrote in a note on his third string quartet (1971), one of the pivotal works in his return to a more coherent and tonal style. “It became necessary to move on.” By confronting the dominant artistic upheavals of his day with honesty and openness—even when it meant writing music that came to be regarded with disdain in academic circles with a vested interest in the avant-garde— Rochberg arrived at “neo-tonalism” well before the startling shift of the early 1980s when composers returned in droves to the gestures and forms of the Classic-Romantic idiom. “The desperate search in the second half of the twentieth century for a way out of cultural replication,” Rochberg wrote, “has let loose a veritable Pandora’s box of aberrations which have little or nothing to do with art, but everything to do with being ‘successful’ historically or commercially.” Composers should be seeking renewal, he said, “by regaining contact with the tradition and means of the past.” And that is exactly what he did, in a series of influential works of the 1970s and ’80s that paved the way—with convincing rigor and vitality—for the aesthetic sea-change that came to be called “the New Romanticism.”

The present disc includes two compositions from the 1970s— that is, works written after Rochberg's stylistic “shift”—and two of his most richly rewarding serial pieces. Slow Fires of Autumn (1979) evokes images of the East, while Ricordanza (1972) is lush and sweetly Romantic in Rochberg’s most emphatically accessible manner. Juxtaposed are two essential products of the composer’s serialist mastery: the dramatic Duo concertante for violin and cello (1955) and the dense, visionary String Quartet No. 2 (1961).


This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available for order 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).

Various Artists

Music of George Rochberg, Vol. 2

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $15.99

Track Listing

Slow Fires of Autumn
George Rochberg
Buy
Duo Concertante
George Rochberg
Buy
Ricordanza
George Rochberg
Buy
String Quartet No. 2
George Rochberg
Buy