Richard Hoffmann & Donald Martino: Chamber Music
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL240     Release Date: 2010-08-15

Paul Zukofsky, violin; Jean Dupouy, viola; Robert Sylvester, cello; Arthur Bloom, clarinet; Gilbert Kalish, piano

Richard Hoffmann's String Trio was begun in 1961 (Altmünster, Austria) and, after approximately a year's interruption, completed in 1963 (Los Angeles, California).

Of its construction, Mr. Hoffmann writes:

“The piece is in a single movement (approximately 15 minutes). The kaleidoscopic treatment of the musical substance in detail (fragmentation, juxtaposition, rotation); the confluence of a number of coequal contrasting sections (elision, dovetailing); the interaction of disparate elements; rhythmic dissonance; conflicting dynamics (even with sustained sonorities); the notation of each instrument on three staves (upper: sul ponticello or sul tasto, the middle: arco, the lower: pizzicato or col legno), and localized accelerandi and ritardandi – all are designed to create the maximum possible illusion of multidimensional movement and to emulate in sound the inherently unstable characteristics of a mobile. This is done without recourse to the arbitrariness and forced spontaneity of improvisation, but rather, within the paradoxical framework of rigid control and matrix-like construction.”

Donald Martino has said that his Fantasy Variations for Violin (1962) combines the variation technique— always fundamental to the science of composition — with the freedom and unpredictable character of the fantasy. The work is in one movement with multiple sections. In some instances the sections are rough durational variants of each other, but more often the concept of continuous variation operates across structural boundaries.Regarding the 12-tone-motivated procedures, Martino says:

“This was my first composition which employed timbre and register to stratify simultaneously- progressing total-set forms. The opening demonstrates a case of register, timbre and dynamics synchronized for the purpose of differentiating set-forms as well as set motif-members. Further use of synchronization and permutation of pitch adjuncts, coordinated with simultaneously interlocking, unfolding and overlapping sets, occurs as the piece progresses.”

Martino's Trio for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano (1959) contains seven sections related in the manner of a simple rondo: A-B-A'-C-A"-B'-A"'. The A sections are moderate to fast in tempo; the B and C sections are permutations of each other, in that each section contains the same material reshuffled. The B sections are retrogrades of each other; although the first B section is incomplete, its completion in the second B section is only delayed by the appearance of A', C and A". The C section is independent of A and B. Timbre, register, dynamics and, to some extent, rhythm, play an important role in clarifying the pitch structure.

This title, originally issued 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.

Paul Zukofsky

Richard Hoffmann & Donald Martino: Chamber Music

MP3/320 $7.99
FLAC $7.99
WAV $7.99
CD-R $7.99
CD-Rs come in a protective sleeve; no print material or jewel case included.
A *.pdf of the notes may be accessed here free of charge.
   Liner Notes

Track Listing

String Trio
Richard Hoffmann
Trio For Violin, Clarinet and Piano
Donald Martino
Donald Martino