Thursday, November 20, 2014

Eric Ewazen - Chamber Music of Eric Ewazen - American Brass Quintet - St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble - Well Tempered Productions 1995 -

Here's a second disc dedicated to Ewazen's wonderful music for brass (and piano in a couple works, one of which also includes baritone William Sharp) from Well Tempered Productions. The whole disc is extremely fine however my favorite works here are "Frost Fire" for Brass Quintet (1990) and the "Quintet for Trumpet and Strings" (1990 also).

"Frost Fire" is dedicated to the ABQ in honor of their 30th Anniversary and was also commissioned by them. The work, based on traditional musical forms and models, is in three movements. The first, marked 'Bright and Fast' is a joyous celebration of sonorous chords, playful motives and rhythmic gestures.  It is in a strict sonata-allegro form. The second movement, marked 'Gentle and Mysterious' has a waltz-like feel to it. In a ternary (A-B-A) form, the outer sections consist of ribbons of melodies being gently passed from instrument to instrument. The middle section is a stately fugue which builds in intensity, volume and and rich-sounding resonance. The last movement, 'Tense and Dramatic' brings back material from the first movement, but sets it in a much more turbulent and frenetic environment. Although this movement is based on the skeletal outlines of a sonata-allegro form, it is much freer and more erratic, with shifting meters and contrasting, interpolated passages, ultimately leading the way to heroic and dynamic conclusion. 

" cast a shadow again" (1991) was commissioned by the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble and premiered by the performers on this recording in 1992. The poetry is by Katherine Gekker (I do not have a pdf, I can write it out manually if anyone is really interested) in which the excitement, power, and mystery of love ultimately leads to the tragic and empty loss of love. The trumpet serves as a type of Greek chorus, commenting upon and highlighting the deeply felt and emotional words.

The fantastic "Quintet for Trumpet and Strings" is dedicated to Chris Gekker (trumpet) who commissioned the work. Throughout the four-movement work the trumpet provides the initial statements of the main melodic and gestural material, which are commented upon and developed by the string quartet. The first movement has a rhythmic pulse that continually builds in momentum and excitement. The second movement is a fast spinning scherzo in a compound meter. The third movement is an emotional dirge filled with plaintive and melancholy motifs. The final movement is a grotesque dance in complex meters, involving a struggle between strong dissonance and resonant consonance,  ultimately ending in an upbeat conclusion.

The "Sonata for Horn and Piano" (1992) is a large scale four movement work, neo-impressionistic in style. A gentle and ethereal introduction leads to a dramatic sonata-allegro form in the first movement. The second movement is plaintive, song-like and introspective, while the allegretto third movement is a scherzo consisting of constantly shifting meters and playful melodic motives. The finale has a motoric motion which grows and builds in intensity throughout, culminating in a heroic return to the first movement's intro theme and a presto coda.       

Track list:

1. Frost Fire: I. Bright And Fast
2. Frost Fire: II. Gentle And Mysterious
3. Frost Fire: III. Tense And Dramatic
4. '...To Cast A Shadow Again': I. Stopped By The Stream
5. '...To Cast A Shadow Again': II. Luminescent Moonlight
6. '...To Cast A Shadow Again': III. Two Bees
7. '...To Cast A Shadow Again': IV. That Didn't Take Too Long
8. '...To Cast A Shadow Again': Interlude
9. '...To Cast A Shadow Again': V. Everyone Says It Snowed Last Night
10. '...To Cast A Shadow Again': VI. Hands Underwater On My Body
11. Katherine Gekker: VII. Cordite Surrounded You - VIII. Lie Down And Cry
12. Quintet For Trumpet And Strings: I. Allegro moderato
13. Quintet For Trumpet And Strings: II. Allegro molto (Scherzo)
14. Quintet For Trumpet And Strings: III. Adagio (elegia)
15. IV. Allegro agitato
16. Sonata For Horn And Piano: I. Andante - Allegro molto
17. Sonata For Horn And Piano: II. Adagio
18. Sonata For Horn And Piano: III. Allegretto
19. Sonata For Horn And Piano: IV. Lento - Allegro molto - Presto



cjvinthechair said...

Oh, it's a pleasure logging onto your blog whenever I'm able - there's hardly a thing that you feature, and that includes chamber/solo music that has never been my forte, where I don't think 'Hey, that'd be worth a listen' !

Most indebted, Sir, really !

Hatu said...

Music of the american revolution
suite No. 1 : for string orchestra Bales, Richar?


Tzadik (not signed in) said...

Hey cjv it's nice to hear from you, and to receive your kind compliments :) So, I hope you enjoy this Ewazen then! I really enjoy his orchestral music too, are you familiar with it? -good weekend, Tz

Tzadik (not signed in) said...

Hello Hatu

I'm not sure about your request, I might have that somewhere, or not. I do know it, I think it was on Columbia records.. I will keep it i mind! -Tz