Music of Halsey Stevens
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR892     Release Date: 2007-01-01
London Philharmonic Orchestra; George Barati, Conductor; Gabor Rejto, cello; Japan Philharmonic Orchestra; Akeo Watanabe, Conductor


Halsey Stevens represents an exceptional blend of talents and attributes. In some ways he is the quintessential American composer at midcentury. He reaches his mature mastery at a moment that places him on the cusp of several different aesthetic and cultural currents. While his music is largely tonal, it also does not shy away from the modernist influences which swept across the century. While resolutely American in its sound and rhetoric, his music maintains a certain level of abstraction that derives at least as much from Neoclassicism as from Nationalism - Stravinsky is as deep an influence as Copland. He was a man of the new media: a program annotator for the Los Angeles Symphony, a critic, a radio commentator. He was a scholar as well, chairing the music department at the University of Southern California for decades and producing the still-definitive book on Bartók. And he was a Californian (adoptive, like so many), but his work still owes more to Europe than to Asia or Hollywood.

Stevens projects a remarkable blend of openness, taste and scrupulous technique. He is blessed and cursed by his historic and cultural “in-betweeness.” Blessed because he came to prominence before the battles between the serial and experimental avant-garde, and the American nationalist camps, erupted in the 1960s. As a result, he was able to write exactly what he wanted. Cursed in that his work would be too little of one extreme or another for the tastes of conflictual time, an aspect compounded by his being far from New York.

Stevens is a composer whose music is deeply expressive, but also essentially modest. It refuses to show off; its brilliance is in using only essential materials for maximum impact. It effortlessly alternates between play and gravity. It gives pleasure in its rightness at every turn. Not a bad legacy.
- Robert Carl


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 Halsey Stevens

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

Track Listing

Symphonic Dances: I. Allegro moderato
Halsey Stevens
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Symphonic Dances: II. Adagio
Halsey Stevens
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Symphonic Dances: III. Allegro
Halsey Stevens
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Sonata for Solo Cello: I. Introduzione
Halsey Stevens
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Sonata for Solo Cello: II. Ciaccona
Halsey Stevens
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Sonata for Solo Cello: III. Scherzo
Halsey Stevens
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Sonata for Solo Cello: IV. Notturno
Halsey Stevens
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Sonata for Solo Cello: V. Finale
Halsey Stevens
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Symphony No. 1
Halsey Stevens
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