Music of Hovhaness, Sims & Moss
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL186     Release Date: 2010-01-01

Melvin Kaplan, English horn; Walter Rosenberger and Elden Bailey, percussion; Ruth Negri, harp; Alan Hovhaness, conductor;
Richard Conrad, tenor; Elinor Preble, flute; Felix Viscuglia, clarinet and bass clarinet; William Hibbard, viola; Judith Davidoff, cello; Helen Keany, harpsichord; Daniel Pinkham, conductor
Seymour Fink, piano; Matthew Rairnondi, violin; Yehudi Wyner, piano


“In March, 1960,” Alan Hovhaness tells us, “a Tokyo television station commissioned a musical tribute to the Moss Temple in Kyoto - Koke Dera - to be entitled Koke No Niwa (“Moss Garden”). The music is scored for English horn, harp, and two percussion players performing on timpani, tam-tam, glockenspiel, and marimba.

“It is a tribute to all the Buddhist temples of Kyoto as well as to Koke Dera. The first phrase is sounded by English horn over harp, Timpani, tam-tam, and glockenspiel. A series of scattered sounds follows on timpani, tam-tam, glockenspiel, and harp - the latter snapping the finger against a bass string. A new phrase is sounded by English horn against the continuing scattered sounds. A dialogue between marimba and harp leads to English horn accompanied by harp harmonics and timpani. Then a free rhythm interlude for marimba, harp, and timpani leads to the final phrase, sung by English horn over murmuring harp and marimba in free rhythm. The music is a garden of sounds and silences.

Writes Ezra Sims of his Chamber Cantata: “While studying Chinese at the Army Language School at Monterey, California, I was struck by the fact that the language when sung was unintelligible, even when the words were in the style of ordinary conversation (‘white language’, one might call it.) So, naturally, I got interested in writing something in the language which could be understood.

. . . So when I got to Mills, I set to work, only to find myself choosing - I fear, with characteristic perversity - highly literary poems which can only partly be understood by ear. But the interesting part remained: writing music which I liked that was at the same time properly 12-tone (I did that for awhile) and properly careful of the four tones of Mandarin Chinese. (There's one ‘mistake’ - I turned the words ‘Wu-ling princes’ into ‘the Wu-ling company’ for lack of a suitable next note in the series.

Says Lawrence Moss of the Violin Sonata “It is the first large work I wrote after completing my studies with Leon Kirchner, to whom it is dedicated. My indebtedness to my teacher is shown. I think, in the large romantic gestures of the music, bravura treatment of both instruments, and the essentially tonal framework of the piece, which is particularly evident in the close of the first and of the third movements.

“In retrospect I see - for me at least - some new directions as well. For example, the clustered harmonies of the second movement have certain affinities with my later work. The cantabile section of the first movement of the Piano Scenes comes to mind, and there are more extended examples in some of the music I am writing now (1964).

“Between the Violin Sonata and the Four Scenes for Piano I spent a year in Italy on a Guggenheim Fellowship. The Piano Scenes were the first work written after my return. There were commissioned by my good friend, Seymour Fink, to whom they are also dedicated.


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 vinyl-only back catalog titles from those later reissued by CRI on compact disc. Please refer to the liner notes for information about the program.

Please note that the newly-digitized CRI LP titles are priced at $12.99 per disc and may be ineligible for special offer pricing.

Various Artists

Music of Hovhaness, Sims & Moss

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Track Listing

Koke No Niwa, Op. 181
Alan Hovhaness
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Chamber Cantata on Chinese Poems
Ezra Sims
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Four Scenes for Piano: I. Allegro tempestoso
Lawrence Moss
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Four Scenes for Piano: II. Adagio sostenuto
Lawrence Moss
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Four Scenes for Piano: III. Allegro scorrevole
Lawrence Moss
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Four Scenes for Piano: IV. Epilogo
Lawrence Moss
Buy
Sonata for Violin and Piano: I. Vigorously
Lawrence Moss
Buy
Sonata for Violin and Piano: II. Reflectively
Lawrence Moss
Buy
Sonata for Violin and Piano: III. Lightly
Lawrence Moss
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