Music of Roger Sessions and Stefan Wolpe
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR676     Release Date: 2007-01-01
Paul Zukofsky, violin; Orchestre Philharmonique de l’Office de la Radio diffusion-Television Française; Gunther Schuller, conductor; Orchestra of the 20th Century; Arthur Weisberg, conductor


Writing in the New Grove Dictionary of American Music, John Harbison says: “[Roger] Sessions’s works often become clearer to the listener some time after they have been heard: when the demanding textures are recalled synoptically, a flash of insight may occur. They are pieces that occupy more than their moments in time.” In an age when we have probed every corner of this earth and beyond, and we have looked at time until it bent into relativity, it is a poignant revelation to hear in twentieth century sound Whitman’s proud, omnivorous boast of a century ago: “I will have thousands of globes and all time.”

Listening to Roger Sessions’s Violin Concerto, given here by the young Paul Zukofsky (who was twenty-four when he made the recording), and Gunther Schuller with the French Radio and Television Orchestra, one’s breath is taken away by the sheer audacity of a youthful composer coupling joyously, openly and accessibly with his muse.

Stefan Wolpe composed Symphony during 1955, while teaching at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, and on a commission from Rodgers and Hammerstein through the League of Composers/ISCM. Symphony is a radicalization of the American symphony, which at that time was flourishing in the concert halls in the works of Copland, Creston, Diamond, Harris, Piston, and Schumann. It was not until Leonard Bernstein programmed the New York Philharmonic season of 1963–64 with works by John Cage, Earle Brown, and others that a new aesthetic began to be heard in the American orchestra. Wolpe’s Symphony was scheduled to premiere on January 16, 1964 under the baton of Bernstein’s assistant, Stefan Bauer-Mengelberg. Bernstein explained in his prefatory words that due to the difficulty of the music only the first two movements of Symphony would be performed. Thus the first complete performance was given in Boston by the New England Conservatory Orchestra under Frederick Prausnitz on April 29, 1965, and the first complete New York performance, the one heard on this recording, was heard under Arthur Weisberg on September 1, 1975.


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 Roger Sessions and Stefan Wolpe

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

Track Listing

Violin Concerto: I. Largo e tranquillo
Roger Sessions
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Violin Concerto: II. Scherzo (allegro)
Roger Sessions
Buy
Violin Concerto: III. Romanza (andante)
Roger Sessions
Buy
Violin Concerto: IV. Molto vivace e sempre con fuoco
Roger Sessions
Buy
Symphony: I. Not too slow
Stefan Wolpe
Buy
Symphony: II. Charged
Stefan Wolpe
Buy
Symphony: III. Alive
Stefan Wolpe
Buy