Pisk, Schwartz, Mills & Gideon: Orchestral Works
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL128     Release Date: 2010-04-01
Paul Pisk’s Passacaglia, Op. 50 was written in 1944 and premiered by the Zurich Radio Orchestra with Jacques Monod conducting. Pisk uses the traditional passacaglia form: three beats to a measure, utilizing an eight bar ground bass (theme). The form, however, bends to Pisk’s strong imagination and masterly craftsmanship. Elements of the theme that might begin in the bass, for instance, may be found in some other voice for a beat or so. He introduces sections in 4/4 and 2/4, always retaining the feeling of the theme; never does one lose the characteristic quality and impulse of the passacaglia. Sonority and richness of instrumentation are also very exciting and rewarding aspects of this work, with Pisk’s gift for brass writing particularly in evidence.

Paul Schwartz’ Concertino for Chamber Orchestra, which had its American premiere in Tucson, Arizona in 1958 is divided into three movements. The first, called Introduction consists of two contrasting themes, the first stated by the strings, the second by the winds, that alternate twice at which time the movement closes with all instruments united in a modified version of the first theme.

The second movement, entitled Sarabande with Variations has for its theme an extended melody of great warmth and dignity that, while managing to retain all the “established” requisites of a first-rate tune, combines with a richly imaginative harmonic development and instrumental voicing resulting in a highly original and well-wrought basis for the three variations that follow. These variations, named Nocturne, Ostinato and Lament are as their names suggest. Each of the instruments has an opportunity to perform in a solo capacity terminating with a short, straight-forward cadenza that leads without break into the Finale.

The Finale, marked Allegro con brio, is precisely that in character. It combines certain elements of the fugue and the rondo, i.e. the fugal exposition and episodes serve as the refrain sections for the rondo, while less contrapuntal interludes serve as contrasting secondary themes.

Charles Mills’ Prologue and Dithyramb was commissioned by the Cleveland Chamber Music Society in 1951 as a string quartet and revised to its present form in 1954. The Prologue is a slow, but fluid movement making excellent use of string texture and sonority. The instruments are required to sing in long arching lines or to blend in rich chords burst with resonance. The Dithyramb (originally a Greek choral song in honor of Dionysus and one that is full of wild emotion and enthusiasm) is somewhat more controlled than the definition of the word would suggest and yet, it is wonderfully lively and quite intricate. In short the work has “originality and a certain purposefulness in the writing that gives it potency and appeal.”

Miriam Gideon’s Symphonia Brevis was written in 1953 for the Orchestra of the College of the City of New York. The first performance was conducted by Fritz Jahoda in May 1953. The work is divided into two movements marked Allegro energico and Andante (Scherzo)-Chorale respectively. In spite of its brevity, the Symphonia has the proportions and emotional range of a symphony. Each movement is terse and highly charged.

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.***

Radio Zürich Symphony Orchestra

Pisk, Schwartz, Mills & Gideon: Orchestral Works

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FLAC $9.99
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CD $12.99

Track Listing

Passacaglia, Op. 50
Paul Pisk
Buy
Concertino for Chamber Orchestra: I. Introduction
Paul Schwartz
Buy
Concertino for Chamber Orchestra: II. Sarabande with variations
Paul Schwartz
Buy
Concertino for Chamber Orchestra: III. Finale (Allegro con brio)
Paul Schwartz
Buy
Prologue and Dithyramb: Prologue
Charles Mills
Buy
Prologue and Dithyramb: Dithyramb
Charles Mills
Buy
Symphonia Brevis: I. Allegro energico
Miriam Gideon
Buy
Symphonia Brevis: II. Andante (Scherzo) ‰ÛÒ Chorale
Miriam Gideon
Buy

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