Speculum Musicae plays Blaustein, Rakowski, Anderson & Clement
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR617     Release Date: 2007-01-01

Speculum Musicae; Benjamin Hudson, violin; Carol Zeavin, violin; John Graham, viola; Lois Martin, viola; Christopher Finckel, cello; Eric Bartlett, cello; Marji Danilow, bass; Donald Palma, bass; Susan Palma Nidel, flute, piccolo; Laura Conwesser, piccolo; Stephen Taylor, oboe; Allen Blustine, clarinets; Stephen Taylor, English horn; Raymond Mase, trumpet; William Purvis, French horn; Jonathan Taylor, trombone; David Braynard, tuba; Charles Descarfino, percussion; Daniel Druckman, percussion; Aleck Karis, piano; Gwendolyn Mok, piano; Donald Palma, Conductor; Robert Black, Conductor; William Purvis, Conductor

Commedia was composed in 1980 for Speculum Musicae and is scored for mixed ensemble of winds, strings and percussion. The title alludes to those dramatic traditions wherein a play is specifically written for and recreated by a company of players, each of whom is well known to his audience as a particular masked character. Commedia was written for the players in the ensemble Speculum Musicae which, on the occasion of its tenth anniversary, seemed of sufficient vintage to enjoy such a rapport with its audience. -Susan Blaustein

I wrote Imaginary Dances for Speculum Musicae in the summer and fall of 1986. It was premiered at Merkin Hall, New York City, on March 9, 1987. The opportunity to write for such accomplished performers, equally adept at solo playing and tight ensemble playing, suggested a piece in which one instrument was always a soloist, and in which the soloist's relationship to the ensemble - of which it is necessarily a part when not a soloist - is constantly being explored and redefined. This premise reminded me of the functions of dancers in some modern ballet, hence the title - which came to me in a dream. The piece is divided into three movements, played without pause, and further divided into sections in which one instrument is soloist. The movements could be described as fast-slow-fast, over which the timbre moves from bright to dark and back to bright. -David Rakowski

Charrette was completed in May 1984, three days before its premiere. It was commissioned by Speculum Musicae through Chamber Music America with the support of the Jerome Foundation and The Mary Flagler Cary charitable Trust.

When in the all too frantic business of completing a score one resorts to round -the-clock labor to meet a deadline, that is a charrette. So it was with the writing of this piece: down to the wire, fraught with both anxiety and exhilaration. But more than characterizing the conditions of the piece's creation, the urgency and concentration of a charrette epitomizes the central tone of the music itself. There is enough in the score which is unsettled and in search of completion that a collage has dubbed the piece, “the apotheosis of the upbeat.” -Allen Anderson

Chamber Concerto was written in New York City and Lenox, Massachusetts in 1982. The piece is about reviewing and reliving previous events placed in new contexts. It initially unfolds through a series of variations. Later variations include parts of preceding ones; occasionally, the resulting passage is reviewed again, in a third context. The riot of orchestrational color possible in the soloist chamber orchestra goes a long way to creating the new contexts for familiar ideas. -Sheree Clement


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. Liner notes are accessible via the link above.

Speculum Musicae

Speculum Musicae plays Blaustein, Rakowski, Anderson & Clement

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD-R $9.99
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

Susan Blaustein
Imaginary Dances: I
David Rakowski
Imaginary Dances: II. Libermente
David Rakowski
Imaginary Dances: III. Tema con variazione
David Rakowski
Allen Anderson
Chamber Concerto
Sheree Clement