NEW AMERICAN MASTERS, VOL. 2
World Premiere Recordings of Newly Commissioned Works
Fantasie  - CAROLINE NEWMAN
Caroline H. Newman graduated from the Mannes College of Music in 1979, with a Professional Diploma in Music Composition. For a period, she continued her studies privately; she subsequently returned to academic studies at New York University, where she worked intensely with Dr. Justin Dello Joio. She received a Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition in May 2001, and her Masters degree in Performing Arts in Music Composition in January 2004; she earned a Founders Day Award for outstanding scholarship and an award for outstanding achievement in composition. Ms. Newman has enjoyed recognition both here and abroad. Her "Two Tuscan Airs for Sextet" have been performed in Italy; "Moods for Orchestra" made its debut in Bucharest, Romania; "Meditation For Octet" has enjoyed performances in NYC, along with "Three Preludes for Piano Solo"; "Two Pieces for Unaccompanied Cello", "Duet for C Flute and Bass Flute", and "Piece for Four Percussionists" featuring concert grand marimba. Her quintet for clarinet, tenor saxophone, violin, cello, and percussion, "Unter der Lindenbaum", was performed in Berlin by the Anton Webern Berlinische Ensemble in the spring of 2005. In October of 2005, Ms. Newman was invited by the Black Sea Symphony to participate in the Constanta Music Festival, where her newest work, "Impressions for Orchestra" was performed (recorded in 2006). Her newest work, “The Silence of the Black Seas” composed for the Armonic Brass Quintet, was premiered in Constanta, Romania in October 2006. Ms. Newman is currently composing her second orchestral piece. She is also drawing on her many years of piano studies (with world-renowned concert pianist and improviser Grace Castagnetta) combined with her compositional skills to perform a series of improvisations based on contemporary scales and techniques. She is also at work on a mixed quintet to be performed in Italy in the spring of 2008.
Fantasie for Flute, Clarinet, and Piano opens with the clarinet in B flat softly exchanging murmuring tremolos with alto flute in its lowest register. The clarinet begins the thematic statement with the characteristic main idea of the perfect 4th. The piano takes over the theme followed by the alto flute. This intervallic idea permeates through the Fantasie, from the introduction to the allegro on to the fast music to the end. The middle is more cadenza-like with the runs and ascending scale motion. A bolder statement of the theme by the piano brings the Fantasie to a climactic close. Composed for the Palisades Virtuosi Trio, the sound is meant to reflect some of the different colors of the trio, and the vibrancy and expressiveness of their playing. --Caroline Newman
Trio #2  - FRANK EZRA LEVY
Frank Ezra Levy, born in Paris, France, began his musical education after emigrating to the U.S. in 1939 where he studied cello privately and then theory and composition with Hugo Kauder. Levy attended the Juilliard School, studying cello with Leonard Rose and graduating in 1951 with a B.S. degree. He studied musicology at the University of Chicago where he received his M.A. in 1954. While in Chicago he also continued his cello studies, this time with Janos Starker. He has spent his lifetime composing while earning his living as a professional cellist. Presently, he has 99 published works. Four of Levy’s orchestral work, including his Second Cello Concerto, recorded September (2004) by the Irish National Orchestra for Naxos Records, were released December 13, 2005 on the American Masters series. Among his recent commissions (for the Duo Fresco) is a Duo Concertante for Viola and Guitar, which has been performed frequently by this group, a Trio for Flute, Clarinet and piano commissioned by the Palisades Virtuosi as well as a duo, “Mythic Transformations”, for Viola and Clarinet and a Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano for the Halcyon Trio. Among some other of his most recent works are: a Cantata, “Six Dreams and a Vision”, on poems by Ruth Pitter, his third trio for Violin, Cello and Piano, Five Songs on poems by W. B. Yeats, a Fantasy Concertante for Clarinet, Viola and Double Choir called “To Peace with Love” and four songs on poems by E.A. Poe for Voice and Guitar.
Trio #2 for Flute, Clarinet & Pianois in four concise movements. It begins with a short tune in the clarinet, which is central to the whole work, followed by the principal theme of the first movement in the flute. This runs through all three instruments in the manner of a fugal exposition and then to an episode followed by another statement of the theme, first in stretto (close canon) and then in octaves by the flute and clarinet. The next section is an exposition of a 6/8 variant of the original subject followed by a stretch of free development leading to a unison statement of the theme in the flute and clarinet accompanied by cascading 32nds in the piano. The movement ends with a truncated version of the opening clarinet melody. The second movement is a kaleidoscopic scherzo, which navigates through many changing meters and moods and is repeated once more. In the slow third movement the opening melody of the first movement appears in close canon between the flute and clarinet. This leads to a nostalgic duet accompanied by the piano. A cadenza like passage in the piano is followed by a reiteration of the flute and clarinet canon, which closes the movement. The last movement is a virtuosic tour de force for all the players interspersed with reminiscences of the first movement opening. The entire first half of the last movement is repeated in inversion and leads to a short, brilliant coda, which ends the work. My aim in writing this work was both to provide a showcase for the PV’s virtuosity as well as to write a serious and expressive piece of music. -- Frank Ezra Levy
Not A Sonata!  - GARY ESKOW
Gary Eskow, who lives in Warren, NJ, with his wife Jerri and two teenage sons, Danny and Brian, is pleased to have been given the opportunity to write a piece for the Palisades Virtuosi. In 2004, Eskow composed The Amazing X-Ray Machine, a single movement string quartet. An album of his chamber music, Many Streams, One River, was recorded at Sony Music Studios in New York City under a contract with Sony Classical, which sponsored this release. In addition to composing and producing his own music, Gary Eskow is also a writer who has interviewed a wide range of artists, including John Corrigliano and Eminem. Those interested to learn more about him are invited to visit Eskow’s website, www.garyeskow.com.
Not a Sonata! (which is, in fact, a sonata): “The first movement is an homage to Francis Poulenc, the outstanding French salon composer. Remembering Ray, written shortly after his death, is a tribute to Ray Charles, one of my early idols. Coconut Cream references Henry Mancini and the genre of film and television music that was written in the 1960’s. Scherzophrenia is a modern, metrically varied movement that avoids standard tonality.” -- Gary Eskow
Three Nightscapes  - ALLEN SHAWN
Allen Shawn (born 1948) grew up in New York City and started composing music at the age of ten. After studying composition with Leon Kirchner and Earl Kim at Harvard University, he spent two years in Paris studying with Nadia Boulanger, then returned to New York, where he pursued graduate studies at Columbia, taught at a number of schools, and worked as a theater pianist. He has lived in Vermont since 1985, and is on the faculty of Bennington College. Shawn has composed chamber and piano music, ten orchestral works, song cycles and choral pieces, a chamber opera and a music-theater work to libretti by his brother, playwright Wallace Shawn, a one act children’s opera to a libretto by Penny Orloff, music for ballet, incidental music for theater, and music for film. He is represented on CD by a considerable amount of chamber music, music for solo piano, and a recording of his Piano Concerto performed by Ursula Oppens with the Albany Symphony. He has received both a Goddard Lieberson Award and an Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his work as a composer. Allen Shawn is also the author of the book "Arnold Schoenberg’s Journey", which received a Deems Taylor Award from ASCAP in 2003. His second book, "Wish I Could Be There" was published in February, 2007.
“Three Nightscapes”, written in the summer of 2006, was commissioned by the superb ensemble Palisades Virtuosi and was first performed by them in December of that year. Like another work I completed during the same summer (called “In Memory Of”), “Nightscapes” was composed in memory of my mother, Cecille Shawn. The three movements share themes and materials. The outer movements, “Meditation” and “Remembrance,” are reflective in tone, while the middle movement, “Dream,” is a kind of agitated scherzo in which there are hints of jazz. The formal world of “Three Nightscapes” is fluid. Each movement seems to unfold spontaneously. A theme heard prominently in the middle of the first movement returns to close the third, where it seems to drift off into space. --Allen Shawn
Four Movements for Virtuosi  - CARLOS FRANZETTI
From symphonies to big band jazz, from chamber works to Latin American music and film scores – Carlos Franzetti has no limits. He is a 2007 Latin Grammy® Nominee in the category of Best Instrumental Album, a 2006 Grammy® Nominee in the category of Best Classical Contemporary Composition for his opera, “Corpus Evita,” a double 2003 Grammy Nominee for “Poeta de Arrabal,” in the categories of Best Classical Crossover Album and Best Instrumental Arrangement, and the winner of the 2001 Latin Grammy Award for Best Tango Album, “Tango Fatal.” Carlos Franzetti has received many outstanding grants and awards, including the 2002 New Jersey Council on the Arts Composers’ Fellowship, The Yamaha Composers Award, The Trofeu Laus from Spain, a Clio Award, The Prensario Award, ACE Award and Premio Konex from Argentina, The Foundation for New American Music, The Penfield Music Commission Project, several grants from Meet The Composer, and two gold records. Mr. Franzetti adjudicates for SGAE and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. Carlos Franzetti’s compositions and arrangements have most recently been performed by the New World Symphony, the Youth Orchestra of the Americas and at the Moab Music Festival. Collaborations with major orchestras include the opening concert of the VI International Music Festival in Buenos Aires at the Teatro Colon with the Orquesta de la Plata, the Boston Pops, the National Symphony (Washington, D.C.), the St. Louis Symphony, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the National Symphony of Mexico, the National Symphony of Argentina, the Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires, the Czech National Symphony, the City of Prague Philharmonic, the Modus Chamber Orchestra, the Janacek Philharmonic, the Bratislava Radio Orchestra, and orchestras in Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, Sweden, Norway and France. A citizen of the United States for many years, Carlos Franzetti was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1948. Biographies of Carlos Franzetti are listed in Latin American Classical Composers Second Edition by Michel Ficher and Furman Schleifer, published by Scarecrow Press, Maryland 2002, The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, published by MacMillan Press Ltd., London 1988, Diccionario de Compositores, published by La Nacion/Corregidor, Buenos Aires 1998, and Chronology of Western Classical Music Volume 2 by Charles J. Hall, published by Rutledge Great Britain Taylor & Francis Books, Inc.
Four Movements for Virtuosi - As the title connotes, this music was commissioned by and dedicated to the Palisades Virtuosi in 2005. The four movements are based on popular music styles from the United States and from Argentina, where I was born and raised. These styles range from Argentine tango, milonga and the folk idiom chacarera to some American ragtime in the last movement. My intention with this music was to feature each member of the Palisades Virtuosi, both individually and as an ensemble. When I attended the concert at which they premiered it, I was delighted with the results of their performance. -- Carlos Franzetti
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