NEW AMERICAN MASTERS, VOLUME 5
World Premiere Recordings of Newly Commissioned Works
"True “virtuosi,” the performers aren’t daunted by the occasionally demanding scores, but penetrate easily to the heart of each singularly different offering."
"As everywhere on this disc, the players respond with both virtuosity and style; the actual standard of recording is of the very highest throughout."
"A stimulating collection of world premiere recordings."
"..sterling, clean performance."
"...expert, polished performance..."
read the full Reviews here
PV's latest interview in Fanfare Magazine
Palisades Amusement  - PAUL MORAVEC
Paul Moravec (b. 1957), winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in Music, has composed numerous works for the orchestral, chamber, choral, lyric, film, and operatic genres. He is University Professor at Adelphi University, served as the Artist-in-Residence with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, was Composer-in-Residence at the American Academy in Rome, and in 2010 he was elected to the American Philosophical Society. Paul Moravec’s many awards include the Rome Prize fellowship from the American Academy in Rome, a Guggenheim fellowship, and three fellowships from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, as well as many commissions. His discography includes four albums on Naxos American Classics, and an orchestral album on BMOP Sound. a graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University, he has taught at Columbia, Dartmouth, Mannes, and Hunter College, as well as Adelphi University.
Palisades Amusement was composed for Palisades Virtuosi in 2009. The title is derived from the now-defunct Palisades Amusement Park, which operated on the New Jersey Palisades, directly across the river from Manhattan from 1898 to 1971. I remember the Park, especially its famous roller-coaster, THE CYCLONE from happy childhood visits in the mid-60’s. The piece follows an impish, mercurial path through its one-movement structure lasting about eight minutes. Palisades Virtuosi premiered the piece in Ridgewood in November, 2009. —Paul Moravec
Time Unheard  - JAMES CHWALYK
James F. Chwalyk, Jr. (b. 1987) has earned Bachelor of Music degrees in Music Education and Music Theory/Composition and a minor in Harry Partch Microtonal Studies from Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. He is a freelance performer in the greater New York City area in addition to his composition work. His original works have been performed by the Bloomfield Youth band and international recording trombonists Anthony Mazzocchi, James Miller and John Rojak, among others. James serves as an instrumental music teacher in the Lyndhurst Pubic Schools, A/V and Equipment Manager for the New Jersey Music Educators Association Annual State Conference and in various capacities for several Masonic and charitable organizations. he also leads the Hi-Res Quartet, a jazz group founded in northern New Jersey in 2011. "Time Unheard" was commissioned by the Palisades Virtuosi in 2010 and written “in loving memory of Nan.”
The passing of time is heard every day, in various forms — a ticking clock, conversation, laughter and sobs, cricket chirps, birdsong... Time Unheard is about the passing of time that each of us never had the chance to experience or ever will — that strange time before we are born and after we die, containing millions of friendships of which we never hear, the deafening silences, the heroic actions others have undertaken and will perform, the tragedies and victories of mankind — all whose memories are bound by time, that immortal process that no mortal can manipulate. The poem inserted in this recording was originally presented in American Sign Language in performance during the music and was written by the composer’s grandmother a very short time before she passed away. —James Chwalyk
Look around. I’m not here.
Close your eyes. I’m over there.
I’ll be with you, in your prayers.
I’m up here, with no fear.
I lived a good life, with no regrets.
Great family and friends, always had.
Be happy not sad.
I’m with people I have missed.
Go on with your life.
I’m finally home.
...and last but not least,
Don’t live my memories;
Make your own.”
Undercurrents Redux  - DAVID SAMPSON
David Sampson has emerged as one of the truly unique voices of his generation achieving rapidly growing attention from major orchestras, soloists and ensembles, serving Composer- in-Residence with the Colonial Symphony Orchestra. His music has been performed by the National Symphony orchestra, the Akron and Memphis Symphony orchestras and the New Jersey Symphony, the American Brass Quintet and the American Composers Orchestra, among others. David Sampson is the recipient of a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and has also received major grants from the NEA, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Barlow Endowment, Jerome Foundation, Cary Trust, and the Dodge Foundation, among others. He holds degrees from the Curtis institute of Music, Hunter College, Manhattan School of Music, and the Ecoles d’Art Americaines. His music is published by editions BIM, Cantate Press and David Sampson Music. He has served on the board of the Composers Guild of New Jersey and the advisory board of the Bergen Foundation.
Undercurrents Redux began its life as a solo unaccompanied flute piece titled “Undercurrents” written during the spring of 2007. It grew into Undercurrents Redux when the Palisades Virtuosi commissioned a new trio in 2010. The inspiration for the work comes from my remembrances of long childhood summers playing in the streams near Camden, South Carolina where I was fascinated with all of the life that happened above and below the waterline. From skeeter bugs to crayfish to minnows and tadpoles, the water, that I seemed to live in at the time, was an entire world unto itself. The work is a single movement with variations based on the original theme. It moves from an opening lyrical and nostalgic mood to a gradually more active and playful texture to a sense of danger, alternating a multitude of tempi and techniques. It all comes to an end with a series of strong flourishes. —David Sampson
‘Aina  - DONALD REID WOMACK
Donald Reid Womack is the composer of a considerable body of works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo instruments, chorus and voice.His music has been performed and broadcast on five continents, and is recorded on the Albany, Equilibrium, Akdangiban, and Tokyo CMC labels. Womack holds Doctoral and Masters degrees in composition from Northwestern University, as well as bachelors degrees in philosophy and music theory from Furman University. His extensive work with Japanese, Korean, and Chinese instruments has placed him at the vanguard of inter- cultural composition, and he received a Fulbright Research fellowship to work in Japan, where he served as guest composer-in-residence with the Tokyo-based Japanese instrumental ensemble Aura-J. The recipient of nearly 100 grants, commissions and awards from local, national, and international organizations, Womack is the only artist in any field to twice be awarded artist fellowships from the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. a faculty member at the University of Hawai‘i, Womack has enjoyed residencies at Seoul National University, the National Gugak Center (Center for Korean traditional Performing arts), the International House of Japan, Tohuku University, and the Honolulu Museum of Art.
The Hawaiian word ‘Aina, usually translated "land", carries a host of meanings. Although it refers to physical elements — the actual soil that makes up the earth upon which we stand — it goes beyond this narrow definition to encompass a greater realm. ‘Aina can refer not only to land, but also to the mountains, the sea, the sky, the world that surrounds us. It suggests not only nature, but also the integral connection that the inhabitants of the land have held for thousands of years, as if nature were the protective sibling of mankind, both living in mutual respect and caring for each other.
The work ‘Aina is a set of character pieces representing various images of Hawai‘i, ranging from broad landscape palette to intimate vignette. Essential elements of Hawai‘i appear. the birth of an island, the eerily beautiful lava fields that sprawl across the land, the twisted yet delicate remnants of great volcanic eruptions, the rich sea life that is sustenance, all painting a picture of the unique place that is Hawai‘i. Hovering above all, the specter of Pele, Hawaiian goddess creator, is present, the irony of her nature as both creator and destroyer heard in the contrasting characters of the music.
The first movement, Lo‘ihi, refers not only to the as-yet-unborn island currently forming off the east coast of the island of Hawai‘i, but symbolically to the creation of the ‘Aina itself. The land comes into existence violently, bubbling up from the depths of the ocean over thousands of years until it breaks the surface and becomes a new world, one which will eventually support a wealth of life.
Pele’s Hair, the second movement, refers to volcanic glass formed when bits of lava thrown into the air are twisted and spun by the wind into long, thin strands. They are a delicate filigree that belies the violent forces by which they came to be.
Makai, or sea in Hawaiian, refers here not only to the ocean that surrounds the land, but, more importantly, to the myriad creatures that inhabit the waters. Countless fish, playfully darting as if in unison, provide a bounty that sustains life. a mano, or shark, revered in Hawaiian culture as ‘aumakua or ancestral spirit, enters and commandingly carves a path through the great schools, then disappears as the swarm closes in behind and vibrantly resumes its teeming.
Echoes of a Long Frozen Fire closes the set with a portrait of the lava fields, some thousands of years old, that were left by eruptions and cut across the hawaiian islands. Younger fields remain black, lying quiet and desolate in the sun, while ancient fields are barely recognizable, covered by grass and trees that took root over the course of centuries. Standing on these fields gives one the feeling of listening deeply back in time, on a plane far too vast for humans to sense. ‘Aina was commissioned by the Palisades Virtuosi, the 50th work in their commission series, in honor of the 50th state. —Donald Reid Womack
Between Worlds  - RAYMOND WOJCIK
Raymond Wojcik (b. 1957) is a composer, conductor and educator. He is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and the University of Denver. his critically acclaimed CDs "Akin To Fire" and "Pictures and Stories" were recorded with Moravian Philharmonic (Czech Republic) and Rzesnow Philharmonic (Poland) and released on Albany Records. His activities as a composer have included a three-year position as composer-in-residence at the Cape May Music festival and Conductor’s Institute at Bard. Commissions have been from the Palisades Virtuosi, Duo Fresco, the Mid-Atlantic Center for the arts, the New Jersey Youth Symphony, the Southhampton Chamber Music Society and the Conductors Institute at Bard. Performances of his works have been by the Grand Rapids Symphony, Bay-Atlantic Symphony, Colonial Symphony, New Jersey Youth Symphony, Westfield Symphony Orchestra, South Orange Symphony, Bass School of Music Symphony, Memphis Youth Symphony, Amadeus Orchestra (United Kingdom), Pleven Philharmonic (Bulgaria), Garden State Philharmonic and Southampton Chamber Music Society.
Between Worlds was written in 2010 as an expression of the massive disruption being diagnosed with cancer in 2006 has brought to my life. The work’s title suggests the simultaneous experience of personal upheaval while maintaining a seemingly normal life. It is primarily a dense, dark and conflicted work that ends with the most transcendent music i’ve ever written. However, it is not transcendence that i have actually achieved in my life, but that which I continue to seek — for my life has been permanently altered — physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually, and it is this massive disruption that is given voice in Between Worlds. The entire work is based upon and generated by the motive C-A-F sharp-C-E-B flat, which I made to spell in music cancer. One can trace the motive and its fragments throughout the course of the work. The beginning of the piece has the description weightlessness — disassociated, disembodied, music that conveys a state of shock where there is very little to hold on to. A few minutes into the piece the clarinet and flute play fragments of the cancer motive, which then accelerates, grows chaotically and leads into a unison statement of the motive followed by very agitated music. A slowing down into a music box passage brings a quiet, but poignant tenderness recalling being with my then year-old daughter after I learned of the awful news of my diagnosis. This section is followed by music of deep grief leading into a wildly passionate section. a return to the agitated music heard earlier completes this portion of the work.
The music comes to a dramatic halt and the weightlessness music returns leading to a section of ironic humor — a sardonic polka. In the polka i quote myself with a fragment of a musical theme that I wrote when I was nine years old. After the polka’s last thud in the piano, a review of fragments from what has been heard before transpires. The final section is the apotheosis of the work built upon a repeated rhythmic pattern played on the piano. Over this pattern are intertwining lines in the flute and clarinet, full of yearning and longing. The music builds to a brief moment that touches transcendence but returns down from the heights while recalling the cancer motive. A degree of acceptance and peace is implied while the piano plays its repeated pattern seemingly into eternity.—Raymond Wojcik
Palisades Rush  - SERGIO GARCíA-MARRUZ
Sergio García-Marruz holds an M.F.A. in Music, National School of Arts, Havana, Cuba and a Baccalaureate from Pre-Universitario del Vedado, Delgado. He participated in Don Sebesky’s film Scoring Workshop, the Professional Composer’s Workshop, and completed the Paths electronic Music Seminars. He studied classical guitar with Isaac Nicola, Leo Brouwer and Martha Cuervo. He is a former lecturer-demonstrator for the Hispanic Academy of Media Arts and Science, composer/sound designer for Marymount Manhattan College, and Music instructor for Fieldston Summer Performing Arts Institute. Garcia-Marruz has taught workshops in composition using computers, synthesizers, and MiDi technology. He began his professional career as a performing guitarist of classical and popular music, then became an in-house arranger for the Musicians’ National Union in Cuba. He is currently a composer-arranger for TV Radio commercials (SGM Music), as well as guitarist performing throughout the tri-state area.
Palisades Rush consists of two movements. the first movement, Fantasía Para Tres (fantasy for three), is more about textures than anything else. The harmonic entanglement of fourth harmonies, whole tones and a sometimes more acidic approach suggests a programmatic or contemplative mood. The second, Monday in New York, is a crazy piece that recalls those Monday mornings rushing to Manhattan for work. It is fast paced, jazzy and humorous as I strove to expose the playfulness that these three master performers can perform. —Sergio García-Marruz
Tour de Force  - STEVE PERILLO
Steve Perillo (b. 1955) is a composer by night and the president of an international tour company, Perillo Tours, by day. Mr. Perillo’s composition studies were almost solely under the guidance of David Del Tredici at Boston University. His works are a colorful and dramatic combination of pop, classical and 20th century concert styles. While eclectic, he maintains a rigorous formal technique. Mr. Perillo’s catalog includes dozens of piano works, 100 pop songs, a flute sonata, brass quintet, two wind quintets, piano trio, string quartet, eight extended tone poems for large orchestra, a piano concerto and a Magnificat for mixed chorus and orchestra. His first commercial recording, Requiem for a Goldfish, was released on the Centaur label to critical acclaim. Mr. Perillo has also released Perillo’s Magnificat and other Choral Masterpieces and Napoli! on the Centaur Label.
Originally titled “trio,” Tour de Force was actually named by the Palisades Virtuosi. Considering my day job, the tour part is a given. But the listener will have to decide if the piece lives up to its original French meaning! My music is extremely autobiographical. It doesn’t describe personal life events, but it clearly shows what I’ve been listening to and studying throughout my life. The first movement, Kaleidoscope, shows my love of 19th Century Italian music and Bach. always Bach! The Rondo comes from years of piano exercises and the sheer joy of speed. The rondo form is easy to follow because identical musical sections are repeated with various interludes. Well now, doesn’t that describe 95% of all music! —Steve Perillo
Producer: John Ostendorf
Recording Engineer: Paul Antonell
Recorded at the Clubhouse Studio, Rhinebeck, New York, July - August, 2013 www.theclubhousestudio.com
Cover image: Cyclone Roller coaster from the Palisades amusement Park Souvenir booket, used with permission of the Palisades Amusement Park Historical Society
Photo of Palisades Virtuosi: John V. bentz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo of James Chwalyk, Jr.: Chad Mooney Photo of Paul Moravec: Anthony Parmalee
New American Masters, Volume 5 is funded in part by a grant from the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University and would not have been possible without the generous contributions of our donors at kickstarter.com including: Patrons Julia Lanigan and Steve Perillo, Benefactors: Marco Cardamone, John F. Coyle III, Suzanne Pfister and Andrew Rudin, Sponsors: Sue & Bob Biskeborn, Chris & Tom Pepper and Janet & Paul Mack Somers, Friends: Judy Brandenburg, James Chwalyk, Jr., Ching Chen Juhl, Steven Lavitan, James Lisanti, Linda Marcel, Marilyn Michaels, Michael Noll, Sally Novak, adele Pepe and Argine & Tigran Safari.
Paul Moravec’s Palisades Amusement is published by Subito Music Publishing. www.paulmoravec.com
James Chwalyk’s Time Unheard is published by Chwalyk Music (aSCaP).
David Sampson’s Undercurrents Redux is owned and published by David Sampson. www.davidsampson.com
Donald Reid Womack’s ‘Aina is published by Akamai Music. www.donaldwomack.com
Raymond Wojcik’s Between Worlds is available directly from the composer at www.raymondwojcik.com.
Sergio Garcia-Marruz’s Palisades Rush is published by SGM music.
Steve Perillo’s Tour De Force is available directly from the composer. www.steve.com/music