Music of William Mayer & Domenick Argento
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL291     Release Date: 2010-10-15

Iowa Brass Quintet: Robert Levy, trumpet; John Beer, trumpet; Paul Anderson, horn; John Hill, trombone; Robert Yeats, tuba;
Catherine Rowe, soprano; Jeanne Benjamin, violin; Michael Rudiakov, cello; Bernard Berger, flute; Gerard Schwarz, trumpet; Claire Heldrich, percussion; Raymond Des Roches, percussion; Andrew Thomas, piano; Arthur Weisberg, Conductor; Vern Sutton, tenor; Jeffrey Van, guitar

William Mayer's fondness for brass instruments has resulted in such works as Concert Piece for Trumpet, Essay for Brass and Winds (CRI 185) and the Brass Quintet which is dedicated to the Iowa Brass Quintet. What emerges from the shifting timbres and asymmetric rhythms is a quality of Rabelaisian humor co-existing with poignant lyricism. The simplicity of the second movement, an elegy, contrasts with the intricacy of the other movements: the movements are marked Poco presto, Lento, Con moto, and Poco presto. All parts of the work share a quality of disarming simplicity that conceals Mayer's fine craftsmanship.

After the premiere of Miniatures, Donal Henahan of the New York Times found that some of them “put one in mind of Ives at times, particularly the latter's tersest and best jests such as 'Ann Street.' Mr. Mayer's songs chattered along with an elfin, askew wit that led only back to itself, as good music ideally should.” Most of the Miniatures are dark and lyrical, however, and deal with serious subjects — loneliness, longing, getting old — and all are an attempt to create individual worlds of feeling in a tiny space of time.

The News Items, on the other hand, are primarily light and are designed to resemble a soufflé despite the fact that the distraught soprano in the last selection turns into a hen.

Khartoum is a simple song of longing

About Letters From Composers, Dominick Argento writes:

“In a letter of 1882, Verdi wrote: 'But what need is there to go dragging letters out of a composer of music? Letters that are always written in haste, carelessly, as something of no importance.'

“I chose letters rather than poems for these songs because the epistolary style seems highly suitable to the intimate sort of chamber music made by voice and guitar; I chose letters by composers because they seem to me to be less self-conscious, less 'public' than those of other creative artists. Wanting to treat the subject of the artist as man, I deliberately avoided letters dealing with 'art' and chose instead those shedding light on some less familiar facet of the composer's personality.


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 previously unavailable back catalog titles from those later reissued by CRI on compact disc.

***Please note that the newly-digitized CRI LP titles are priced at $12.99 (multiples excepted) and are not included in any of the special offers.***

Various Artists

Music of William Mayer & Domenick Argento

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $12.99

Track Listing

Brass Quintet: I. Poco presto
William Mayer
Buy
Brass Quintet: II. Elegy: Very slowly
William Mayer
Buy
Brass Quintet: III. Con moto e pesante
William Mayer
Buy
Brass Quintet: IV. Dance: Poco presto
William Mayer
Buy
Miniatures: I. Deeply Down
William Mayer
Buy
Miniatures: II. Land of Dead Dreams
William Mayer
Buy
Miniatures: III. Fireworks
William Mayer
Buy
Miniatures: IV. Prophetic Soul
William Mayer
Buy
Miniatures: V. Isn't There Some Mistake?
William Mayer
Buy
Miniatures: VI. "For No Man..."
William Mayer
Buy
Khartoum
William Mayer
Buy
Two News Items: "Hastily Formed Contemporary Music Ensemble Reveals Origins"
William Mayer
Buy
Two News Items: "Distraught Soprano Undergoes Unfortunate Transformation"
William Mayer
Buy
Letters from Composers: I. Chopin
Domenick Argento
Buy
Letters from Composers: II. Mozart
Domenick Argento
Buy
Letters from Composers: III. Schubert
Domenick Argento
Buy
Letters from Composers: IV. Bach
Domenick Argento
Buy
Letters from Composers: V. Debussy
Domenick Argento
Buy
Letters from Composers: VI. Puccini
Domenick Argento
Buy
Letters from Composers: VII. Schumann
Domenick Argento
Buy