About this Project:
This debut CD project has its genesis in my desire to bring three pieces to attention that have not been previously recorded and that I feel are a great contribution to flute repertoire and to the world of music.
The title of this CD project comes from the title of the piece by Leo Kraft, "From The Hudson Valley". This piece is filled with imagery and effects that bring to mind the lyrical beauty of the Hudson Valley. There are scenes within the piece that portray the ominous danger of storms in the mountains and there are many shifting tonal colors that carry you from danger to safety once again. I was one of the flutists who commissioned this piece and I was privileged to perform the premiere in August 1998 at the National Flute Association's annual convention, and so it has great meaning in my life. The photos that I've selected for this CD cover are my own, taken one fall day from the top of Bear Mountain.
"Spring in Bucks County" is by a relatively obscure New Jersey composer, Godfrey Schroth, who is known mostly for his choral and organ works. It is somewhat lengthy, but very well crafted. It is a piece that had not yet been published or recorded. I am the only one currently performing this piece, so even though it was not written for me, I have been championing it for several years. This piece has evocative imagery, colorful harmonies and sensuous melodies. It is unusual in that it employs not just the flute but also the alto flute and the piccolo. It is a stunning piece that I love to perform.
The trio by Eric Ewazen "Ballade, Pastorale & Dance" is one of my favorite pieces to perform. It is easily accessible to all and it is a joy to play. Even though it was not written for me, I've included it because I love Eric's music and I wish to share my vision of this piece.
"A Night Piece" by Arthur Foote was selected because I wanted another piece with strings to balance the piece by Leo Kraft and because it is one of my childhood favorites. It was one of the composer's last works, written in 1918 on commission from George Laurent who was then principal flutist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Originally composed for flute and string quartet, "A Night Piece" was re-set by the composer for flute and string orchestra at the request of Pierre Monteux. Its serene atmosphere evokes sweet fantasy of dreams.
Each of these works are important to me beyond their inherent musical value. I have chosen each one because there is something in it that I feel I can express and share with others. I have had wonderful audience reactions to these pieces. I hope you enjoy listening to this CD.
About the Composers:
Leo Kraft - (b. 1922) is professor emeritus of the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. Mr. Kraft became the conductor of the New Repertory Ensemble in 1978. He has also held posts at the College Music Society, The American Society of University Composers, and the American section of the ISCM, and was elected president of the American Music Center. Mr. Kraft has written numerous music theory and ear training texts and composed a wide variety of works, including the Concerto for piano and 14 instruments, the Chamber Symphony, and Strata. He studied composition at Queens College and Princeton University, and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris on a Fulbright Scholarship.
Godfrey Schroth - (b. 1927) A pupil of the noted American composer, Paul Creston, Godfrey Schroth first came to attention in 1959, when his Piano Quintet won the LADO Foundation Prize for chamber music, premiered in New York by the Phoenix Quartet. Many published choral and organ pieces followed and "A Solemn English Mass" was the first vernacular setting sung at St. Patrick's Cathedral. In 1973, on a grant from the NJ Arts Council, he wrote Rocky Mountain Serenade for Strings, Percussion and Guitar for the Pueblo (Colorado) Arts Festival. In 1979 he completed "Green Graves and Violets", a vocal chamber cycle, which celebrated the writings of a forgotten Civil War poetess, the tragic Ellen Howarth. "The Mystic Trumpeter", a work for chorus and wind ensemble on a Walt Whitman text, was commisioned by the Pro Arte Chorale and received its premiere performance in March 1999.
Arthur Foote - (1853-1937) was a student of John Knowles Paine, and a vital force in the musical life of New England and Boston. He was one of the first generation of American composers to make important contributions to music in the states. In celebration of his 80th birthday his "Night Piece" was performed by the Boston Symphony.
Eric Ewazen - (b. 1954) was born in Cleveland Ohio, studied under Samuel Adler, Milton Babbitt, Warren Benson, Gunther Schuller and Joseph Schwantner at the Eastman School of Music, Tanglewood and The Juilliard School where he has been a member of the faculty since 1980. A former vice-president of the League-ICSM, he is currently the Composer-in Residence with the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, and lecturer for the New York Philharmonic's Musical Encounter Series. A recipient of numerous composition awards and prizes, his works have been performed by many chamber ensembles and orchestras in the U.S. and overseas.
My Friends who helped to make this CD:
(Thank you - I couldn't have done it without you!)
RON LEVY, pianist,has been called "ardent and assured" and "a first-class pianist" by the New York Times. He regularly appears as a soloist and in partnership with many of the world's leading singers and instrumentalists, including more than five dozen artists on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, Mr. Levy is a founding member of the Hudson Trio, Kaleidoscope, the New World Trio, the Manchester Chamber Players, and the Palisades Virtuosi; he has been pianist and harpsichordist of the Oberlin Orchestra, the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra, the New Jersey Philharmonic and the Westchester Symphony and is currently keyboardist of the Manchester Music Festival, Albany Symphony, Ridgewood Choral and the North Jersey Philharmonic. Since 1985, Mr. Levy has been associated with the Manchester Music Festival, of which he is a faculty and Board member. Many prominent composers have written works for Mr. Levy, notably James Grant, John Lampkin, Richard Lane, Erik Nielsen, and David Sampson. Mr. Levy has taught at numerous colleges and is currently an instructor at Kean University and the Ridgewood Conservatory. Much in demand as an adjudicator, conductor, critic, lecturer and writer on musical subjects, recordings by Mr. Levy are available on the Albany, Centaur, Eroica, Koch International, MMF and High Point labels. He is featured on the recently completed film documentary "The Hand". Additionally, Mr. Levy is pianist of the Orpheus Male Chorus. Mr. Levy has conceived a series of concerts based on music inspired by the "Ondine" legend, and another on the music of "Les Six", which were presented by the NY Public Library at Lincoln Center (Bruno Walter Auditorium) in 2006 and 2007.
Scott Brubaker won his current position with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at the age of 21. He has also developed a notable career as a soloist and chamber musician. In addition to extensive recitals, including all of New York's major recital halls and live on the New York "classical" radio stations, he has performed at the Marlboro Festival, with the Emerson String Quartet, Speculum Muiscae, and the Harmonie Ensemble. As solo horn of the New York Symphonic Ensemble for several years, Mr. Brubaker toured Japan with that group as a featured concerto soloist, performing all of the Mozart Concertos. He has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Leningrad Philharmonic, I Musici de Montreal, Musica Sacra, and the Mostly Mozart Festival. Also dedicated to increasing the solo horn repertoire, Mr. Brubaker has commissioned a number of works and has written transcriptions which have been published by International Music Company. His premier recording of the Eric Ewazen Sonata for Horn and Piano (with the composer at the piano) has garnered much critical acclaim. Other solo recordings include releases by the Koch International, Well Tempered, Music and Arts, and Chandos labels. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, Mr. Brubaker has taught at Princeton University and Brooklyn Conservatory (CUNY).
JoAnn Faletta is presently music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony and the Long Beach Symphony. Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "one of the brightest starts of symphonic music in America," she has been praised repeatedly for the sensitivity and energy she brings to the podium. She leads her orchestras "with clarity and precision, often producing performances that are remarkable for their combination of raw power and rare sense of proportion." (Washington Post). Her guest appearances have included engagements with National Symphony Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony, Mexico National Symphony Orchestra, China's Central Philharmonic Orchestra, the symphony orchestras of Charleston, Columbus, Florida, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and many other national and international orchestras. Winner of the Stokowski, Toscannini, Bruno Walter conducting prizes, Ms. Faletta has been awarded eight ASCAP awards, the America Symphony Orchestra League's John S. Edwards award, and the Columbia University Ditson award for her championing of American music which has included performances of 200 American Composers. Ms Faletta has recorded with the London Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, Czech National Philharmonic, Women's Philharmonic and the Long Beach and Virginia Symphonies.
Renee Jolles, concertmaster
Joel Pitchon, principal 2nd
Lois Martin, principal
Ted Mook, principal
Produced and Engineered by Adam Abeshouse
Edited and Mastered by Adam Abeshouse
Recorded in the LeFrak Concert Hall at Queens College. Flushing, NY - June 1999
Cover Graphics By Bates.Miyamoto Design
Candid Photography by Margaret Swinchoski
©2007 Margaret Swinchoski - All rights reserved.