New Chamber & Solo Music
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR649     Release Date: 2007-01-01
Robert Helps, piano; Members of the Spectrum Ensemble: (Frank Dodge, cello; Brett Dean, viola; Per Sporrong, violin; Mi-Kyung, violin); David Del Tredici, piano; Aviv String Quartet: (Hagai Shaham, violin; John McGross, violin; Yariv Aloni, viola; Zvi Plesser, cello); Maya Beiser, cello; Arnon Erez, piano;


I have consistently avoided writing descriptive notes for the “3 Homages,” preferring the listener to react to these three pieces with out prejudicial comments from the composer. These pieces were not written as a set although I felt they compliment each other quite well, they are very performable as separate pieces.

The first two homages are much more tonal than any other music of mine. All three are very pianistic. These two qualities probably account for their being fairly popular as a “contemporary” selection in high level piano competitions...

The Nocturne for String Quartet is very much a mood piece, the mood being in the tradition of the numerous Mahler and Bartok “night music” movements which make their appearances in these composers' string quartets and symphonic works. It is predominately a gentle movement - “night music” heard from afar. It does, however, have its share of “filigree” passage work and an occasional “muted” climax. The combination of delicacy, even wistfulness, and consistently high register employed in all four instruments presents, I feel, an interesting performance challenge.
-Robert Helps

Trio (1959) is in one movement, divided into two parts. The first part is by turns dramatic, agitated and rhythmic. The second, contrastingly, is lyrical and flowing. At the end three is a reprise of the piece's opening signature sound - a sustained major third surround by a dissonant “buzz” of ponticello tremelos.

Written in 1959, during my last year as a college student and my first years as a composer, Trio was inspired by a performance of the Schoenberg String Trio. I had never heard “modern” string effects - sul ponticello, col lengo, battuta, harmonics - and these new sounds filled me with awe and wonder. Trio was the result.

The Fantasy Pieces [Adagio: Poco Allegretto; Allegro minacciando (…Diabolique); and Largo] were written at age 22, a year after the Trio, while I was a graduate student at Princeton University. Fantasy Pieces began as a response to composer-professor Earl Kim's suggestion that try to write some twelve-tone music. Each of the pieces does, in fact, start with a tone row. However, my ear, quite differently inclined, led me down another more tonal path that ended finally, far from dodecaphony, on an unresolved dominant seventh chord...
-David Del Tredici

The String Quartet (1978) draws its inspiration from the liturgical Sephardic music of the Middle East often characterized by highly ornamented melodic lines, microtonic intervals, and various types of heterophony. The melodic contours, melismas, and subtle inflections are modeled on pitch and language interaction in biblical cantillaiton. The human voice, that most perfect instrument, one capable of evoking every nuance of feeling, serves as the unattainable ideal for the strings articulation and mode of expression...

Canto (1981) is a fantasy in which fragments of a cantus firmus are woven into dream-like sequences. A broad range of keyboard textures evoke various national styles of piano playing, in particular the French and German...

Five Duets (1992) were composed as a birthday present for Andre Hajdu, a noted Hungarian-born, Jersualem-based composer. Five Duets allude in many subtle and not so subtle ways to Hajdu's multifaceted personal and musical background (he was a student of Kodaly, Milhaud and Messiaen)...
-Jan Radzynski

My String Trio of 1963 is a twelve-tone work but not strictly so, the technique being used quite freely at times. In form it is a large one-movement arc. The opening accompagnao figure in the viola states the row and sets the stage for a rather lyrical theme that appears over it in the violin. The musical materials recur at the end of the piece, but transformed and elegiac in character. In the middle is and extended and virtuosic presto section climaxing in a presto possible. Then on either side of this central presto are transitional episodes that evolve, develop, and reflect upon the main materials of the piece...
-Tison Street


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

New Chamber & Solo Music

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

Track Listing

Three Hommages: I. Hommage à Fauré
Robert Helps
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Three Hommages: II. Hommage à Rachmaninoff
Buy
Three Hommages: III. Hommage à Ravel
Buy
Trio
David Del Tredici
Buy
Fantasy Pieces: I. Adagio
David Del Tredici
Buy
Fantasy Pieces: II. Poco Allegretto
David Del Tredici
Buy
Fantasy Pieces: III. Allegro Minacciando (...Diabolique)
David Del Tredici
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Fantasy Pieces: IV. Largo
David Del Tredici
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String Quartet
Jan Radzynski
Buy
Canto
Jan Radzynski
Buy
Five Duets: I. Risoluto
Jan Radzynski
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Five Duets: II. Allegro
Jan Radzynski
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Five Duets: III. Allegretto burlesco
Jan Radzynski
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Five Duets: IV. Remembering Sepharad
Jan Radzynski
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Five Duets: V. Agitato
Jan Radzynski
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Trio -
Tison Street
Buy
Nocturne
Robert Helps
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