Riley Beaser Tower Liebermann Schickele
Robert Beaser was born in 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts. Hegraduated from Yale School of Music summa cum laude, earning his Doctor ofMusical Arts degree in 1986. His composition teachers haveincluded Jacob Druckman, Earle Brown, Toru Takemitsu, Arnold Franchetti, BetsyJolas and Goffredo Petrassi. In addition, he studied conducting withOtto-Werner Mueller and William Steinberg. He has been the recipient of manyawards, including the Prix de Rome, Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships, andhis music has been performed throughout the world by major musicians andensembles such as the New York Philharmonic and the Saint Louis SymphonyOrchestra. His output includes works for orchestra, chamber and vocal groups,chorus, and solo instruments.
According to the composer, \Mountain Songs is a cycle of eight songs basedlargely on American folk music. Of the four tunes presented on this recording,as reflected by their titles, three are lyric ballads from the southernmountains of Appalachia while Cindy is a minstrel fiddle song." Mountain Songswas commissioned by Paula Robison and Eliot Fisk. It was composed between Julyand November 1984 in New York and Rome and was given its world premi?¿re inApril 1985 by the Robison/Fisk duo at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NewYork City. The composer provides the following detailed notes of the four songsrecorded here: "In Barbara Allen pride keeps the heroine from saving her loverfrom his tragic end. "Sweet William," dying for love of Barbara, expires as shespurns him on his deathbed. The House Carpenter explores the guilt-riddenfantasies of escaping from one's lot. A woman's former lover appears after aprolonged absence; he tempts her to leave the house carpenter she has sincemarried and come away with him to a place "where the grass grows green/To thelands on the banks of the sea". Unable to resist his call, she agrees, and theysail off together. But soon she begins to weep for her abandoned child; andfinally, in penance and guilt, she and her lover spring a leak in their shipand sink to the cold sea floor. He's Gone Away mixes elements of sorrow withhope: "He's gone away for to stay a little while/ But he's coming back if hegoes ten thousand miles.../Look away, look away over Yandro!" Here the stanzasare separated by an upbeat, dance-like interlude. The frolic tune Cindy bubbleswith minstrel-song spirit."
Joan Tower is one of this generation's most dynamic andcolorful composers. Her bold and energetic music, with its striking imagery andnovel structural forms, has won large, enthusiastic audiences. Her firstorchestral work, Sequoia, quickly entered the repertory, with performances byorchestras including Saint Louis, New York, San Francisco, Minnesota, TokyoNHK, Toronto, and the National Symphony and London Philharmonia. SilverLadders, written in 1987 for the Saint Louis Symphony as part of herthree-year residency (1985-1988) with that orchestra, won the prestigious 1990Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition and has been performed by the SaintLouis, Chicago, Louisville, Dallas, and Berlin (Radio) orchestras. Her Fanfarefor the Uncommon Woman (No. 1) has been played by over two hundred differentensembles since its 1987 premi?¿re. The Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Fanfareswere commissioned respectively by Absolut Vodka, Carnegie Hall, the Kansas CitySymphony, and the Aspen Music Festival. Her ballet Stepping Stones (1993) was commissionedby choreographer Kathryn Posin for the Milwaukee Ballet.
From 1969 to 1984, Tower was active as founder and pianistwith the 1973 Naumburg Award-winning ensemble the Da Capo Chamber Players.They commissioned andpremi?¿red many of her most popular works, includingPlatinum Spirals, Hexachords, Wings, Petroushskates, and Amazon I. Othercommissions include Snow Dreams (for Carol Wincenc and Sharon Isbin), Clocks(for Isbin), and Fantasy...Harbor Lights (for Richard Stoltzman). Also activeas a conductor, Tower has conducted at the White House (Celebration fromStepping Stones), the Scotia Festival in Canada, and the American SymphonyOrchestra. Tower has been the subject of television documentaries on WGBH(Boston), CBS Sunday Morning, and MJW Productions (England).
Joan Tower, who was born on 6th September, 1938 in NewRochelle, New York, studied with Henry Brant and Louis Calabro at BenningtonCollege where she received her B.A., and with Otto Luening, Jack Beeson andChou Wen-chung at Columbia University, where she received her M.A. and D.M.A.She has also studied with Darius Milhaud at Aspen, Colorado, and withWallingford Riegger, Ralph Shapey and Charles Wuorinen in New York. Towerbecame composer-in-residence for the Orchestra of St. Luke's for a term ofthree years, starting with the 1999-2000 season. She is also the recipient ofthe Delaware Symphony's 1998 Alfred I. DuPont Award for Distinguished AmericanComposers and Conductors, and was inducted into the membership of the AmericanAcademy of Arts and Letters. She is currently Asher Edelman Professor of Musicat Bard College, where she has taught since 1972. She is also co-artisticdirector of the Yale/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and composer-in-residenceat the Summit Institute for the Arts and Humanities in Utah.
Snow Dreams was written for flutist Carol Wincenc andguitarist Sharon Isbin and commissioned through a grant from the Schubert Clubof St. Paul. The work was first heard in April 1983. The piece is a studyin balancing the two disparate timbres and technical possibilities of the flute and guitar. "There are many different imagesof snow, its forms and its movements," writes Tower, "light snow flakes, pocketsof swirls of snow, rounded drifts, long white plains of blankets of snow, lightand heavy snowfalls, and so forth. Many of these images can be found in thepiece if, in fact, they need to be found at all. The listener will determinethat choice."
Terry Riley was born in Colfax, California, on 25th June,1935. After graduating from San Francisco State University, he moved across theBay for graduate studies in composition withSeymour Shifrin and William Denny. Although he was composing in the thenaccepted serial style, his friend La Monte Young led Riley to investigate longtones. Riley applied them to his 1960 String Quartet and 1961 String Trio. In1961 he completed his M.A. at the University of California, Berkeley, and movedto Europe. He became involved in a variety of music endeavours, including experimentswith tape at the ORTF studios of French national radio.
In 1963, Riley returned to the Bay Area, where he continuedhis experiments at the San Francisco Tape Music Center. The resulting worksfrom that period were In C (1964) and Dorian Reeds (1965). The seminalminimalist work, In C, provided the conception for a form comprised ofinterlocking repetitive patterns that was to change the course of twentieth-centurymusic and strongly influence the works of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and JohnAdams as well as rock groups such as The Who, The Soft Machine, Curved Air,Tangerine Dream and many others. In 1965, Riley joined La Monte Young in NewYork, singing with The Theatre of Eternal Music. In 1968 he recorded In C,which was followed by another of his tape experiments, Poppy Nogood and HisPhantom Band. In 1970 Riley met the renowned North Indian vocal master, PanditPran Nath. The next decade was largely