Richard Donovan & Leslie Bassett: Orchestral Works
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL203     Release Date: 2010-07-15

Polish National Radio Orchestra; Jan Krenz, conductor

Radio Zurich Symphony Orchestra; Jonathan Sternberg, conductor

Richard Donovan (1891-1970) was been associated for the greater part of his career with the musical life of that city and with the growth over the period 1928-60 of the School of Music at Yale University.

Epos (“Communication—Message”) is described by Mr. Donovan as being planned in terms of an extended three-part structure:

“It begins with the sounding of a short, solemn motto…. The second part is given over to energetic material, sometimes dance-like in a heavy way. A bridge leads to development of material heard thus far. The orchestral texture expands. Fresh ideas are explored.

“A quiet return to earlier ideas ensues, working up to a full orchestral climax dominated by high trumpets with woodwind underpinning through several octaves. Characteristic harmonic elements heard earlier pass in review. Bass clarinet and English horn together recall the opening adagio. Finally the original tonality of B leads the work to a close.”

”Concerning the Passacaglia on Vermont Folk Tunes, Mr. Donovan cautions against taking the “Folk Tunes” designation literally.

“Derived from various sources, these songs in their complete forms were familiar throughout rural Vermont in earlier times. However, I have thought it best not to identify any of the folk songs as such, if only to avoid controversy where collectors are concerned.

“These spirited folk song references provide the over all musical texture with necessary contrast and color; but the passacaglia melody in one form or another is seldom far away—contributing, through its rhythmic features and expressive character, to the unity of the work as a whole. Nearly all the thematic material of the quiet coda is derived from it.”

Of Variations for Orchestra composer Leslie Bassett (1923-2016) remarked:

“I consider the Variations to be one of the most deeply motivated musical statements I have made. Many of the technical considerations faced at the time of composition have by now, two years later (1965), been largely forgotten or confused with those present in more recent works; but I remember that I found the process of more or less continuous statement, yet statement with developmental or reflective overtones, to be very exciting. The variation process, free from many of the customary melodic considerations and obligations, seemed to me to give new depth to melody, even though at the same time it made melody far less memorable.”

This title, originally issued as a vinyl LP on the CRI label, is now available as a burn-on-demand CD (CD-R) or download in MP3/320, FLAC or WAV formats. CD-Rs come in a protective sleeve; no print booklet or jewel case included. Full liner notes are accessible via the link above.

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.


Polish National Radio Orchestra

Richard Donovan & Leslie Bassett: Orchestral Works

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Track Listing

Epos
Richard Donovan
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Passacaglia on Vermont Folk Tunes
Richard Donovan
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Variations for Orchestra: Motivic Introduction
Leslie Bassett
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Variations for Orchestra: Var. I - Fast
Leslie Bassett
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Variations for Orchestra: Var. II - Slightly faster
Leslie Bassett
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Variations for Orchestra: Var. III - Moderate
Leslie Bassett
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Variations for Orchestra: Var. IV
Leslie Bassett
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Variations for Orchestra: Var. V - Very fast
Leslie Bassett
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Variations for Orchestra: Var. VI - Intense
Leslie Bassett
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Variations for Orchestra: Var. VII - Lighter and faster
Leslie Bassett
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Variations for Orchestra: Var. VIII - Rustling
Leslie Bassett
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Variations for Orchestra: Conclusion - Slow
Leslie Bassett
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