Putsché: The Cat and the Moon; Schafer: Requiems for the Party-Girl; Weinberg: Cantus Commemorabilis I
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL245     Release Date: 2010-08-15

Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Chicago; Ralph Shapey, Conductor; Elsa Charlston, soprano; Thomas MacBone, tenor; James Mack, baritone; Neva Pilgrim, soprano


Of The Cat And The Moon, Thomas Putsché recollects the following about its composition in 1957:

“Beyond an attempt to enhance the dramatic action, the music was conceived of as relating the action to the poetic imagery.

“As I recall, everything in the opera comes from the first few measures: the bongo rhythm (later in timpani), representing the creeping of the cat and the searching of the beggars; the flute idea, representing the cat and the two beggars (their animal nature) and the harp idea, representing the moon and the saint (also the beggars when approaching spirituality). But, trying to remain “among dreams and proverbs,” I derived shapes from these motives through free association. They were often combined and sometimes only suggested certain harmonic or orchestral idioms. And, while it may be possible to trace precisely these derivations, it is not necessary, I would hope, in order to understand the piece.” Harold Schonberg in the New York Times found that the composer has “a decided dramatic feeling” and that everything in his work “points to the climax.” Bernard Jacobson in the Chicago Daily News wrote that “he has a keen sense of beauty, backed by an unusually powerful technique” and that "we should hear more of him."

R. Murray Schafer writes:

Requiems For The Party-Girl was composed in 1966 in response to a commission from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It is intended as part of my opera-in-progress, PATRIA, and is a cycle of connected arias documenting the mental collapse and suicide of a young woman. The text is my own, though I have borrowed numerous thoughts from the diaries of Franz Kafka and Albert Camus.

“I have called the young woman simply 'The Party-Girl,' and as such she is the prototype of those strange harlequinesque creatures one meets occasionally at parties, beneath whose furious demonstrations of gregariousness and joie de vivre one detects obscure signs of terror and alienation. As the gossiping voices around her whisper their absurd propositions in her ear, there is laughter in her eyes to disguise the anguish in her heart. She is resolved to suicide from the beginning and she knows that no one will prevent her. 'Outstretched hands are rare,' she says.

Cantus Commemorabilis I was composed for the Henry Weinberg's cousin, Paul Weinberg, a musician and mathematician, who died at the age of 27. The composer writes:

“There are many who cannot imagine that in a work which has such a personal emotional meaning to a composer, he would concern himself with rhythmic series, sets of rates for the various dimensions, organization of many aspects of pitch and register, etc. One can only reply that an emotional expression is the end, and that such formal concern may allow for the channeling of intensities which are not always best expressed by means of immediate and unpremeditated statement. To be concerned with getting to the base of musical relationships need not result in expressive sterility.

“The score poses great performance problems. The distinctions, rhythmic and otherwise which are called for, are not always functional ones. It is not enough to produce rhythms which are 'not together.' While the impressions should be one of continuous flux, on a subliminal level, the audience should absorb transformed repetitions which are aurally unmistakable ...”


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

Putsché: The Cat and the Moon; Schafer: Requiems for the Party-Girl; Weinberg: Cantus Commemorabilis I

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

Track Listing

The Cat and the Moon: The cat went here and there...
Thomas Putsch̩
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The Cat and the Moon: One thousand and six...
Thomas Putsch̩
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The Cat and the Moon: Minnalousha runs on the grass
Thomas Putsch̩
Buy
The Cat and the Moon: Do you see the big ash tree?
Thomas Putsch̩
Buy
The Cat and the Moon: Will you be cured...
Thomas Putsch̩
Buy
The Cat and the Moon: I see it all now...
Thomas Putsch̩
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The Cat and the Moon: That is a soul lost...
Thomas Putsch̩
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The Cat and the Moon: Minnalousha creeps through the grass
Thomas Putsch̩
Buy
Requiems for the Party-Girl
R. Murray Schafer
Buy
Cantus Commemorabilis I
Henry Weinberg
Buy

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