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Chihara: Forever Escher, Shinju, Wind Song

Release Date: 06/25/2002 
Label:  New World Records   Catalog #: 80597   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Paul Chihara
Performer:  Stephen RosenthalMichael NascimbenHarry FackelmanMarjorie Bagley,   ... 
Conductor:  Paul ChiharaGerhard Samuel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arcata String QuartetAmherst Saxophone QuartetBallet Arts Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Do you enjoy the exotic soundscapes of Tan Dun's score to the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Messiaen's stained-glass-color chords, and those sudden whooshes of brass typical of most 1960s adventure/suspense/detective TV shows? Imagine these elements woven together in a tautly structured, breathtakingly orchestrated ballet score, and you've got the gist of Paul Chihara's 1973 Shinju. It's interesting that this work appeared not long before Chihara began his so-called "second career" as a film, television, and theater composer: clearly his instincts for these mediums were firmly in place.

I'm especially taken with how organically Chihara integrates electronically processed recordings of ancient Japanese
Read more song into the orchestral fabric. In his 1971 cello concerto, Wind Song, the soloist's long lines (stunningly played by Jeffrey Solow) leap in slow, declamatory motion, occasionally broken up by quick, jagged flourishes that lead into snarling brass chords or to single notes suspended in midair, surrounded by active yet discreet percussion rejoinders.

If these two works make their expressive points largely through texture and gesture, the composer's Forever Escher (from 1993-94) is more line-oriented and tonally conservative. Scored for the unusual combination of string quartet and saxophone quartet, the composition's rich variety of colors seems governed by contrapuntal rather than timbral considerations. I only read the composer's program notes after hearing the piece, and I discovered that the quotes from David Raskin's Laura and Wagner's Tristan und Isolde indeed were intentional. Wind Song, incidentally, once was available on a hard-to-find Everest LP, and presumably is remastered from the original analog master tape. Shinju is a 1989 recording, while Forever Escher was taped in April, 2001. I have no doubt that the composer is pleased with the vivacity, commitment, and splendid polish these performances bear. Highly recommended.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Forever Escher by Paul Chihara
Performer:  Stephen Rosenthal (Tenor Saxophone), Michael Nascimben (Alto Saxophone), Harry Fackelman (Baritone Saxophone),
Marjorie Bagley (Violin), Salvatore Andolina (Soprano Saxophone), Christopher Takeda (Violin),
Brant Bayless (Viola), Michael Carrera (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arcata String Quartet,  Amherst Saxophone Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1995; USA 
Date of Recording: 04/26/2001 
Venue:  St Peter's Church, New York City 
Length: 20 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Shinju by Paul Chihara
Performer:  Suenobu Togi (Voice)
Conductor:  Paul Chihara
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ballet Arts Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1989 
Venue:  Enterprise Studio, Burbank, California 
Length: 22 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Notes: The voice in this selection is a recording from the tape. 
Windsong by Paul Chihara
Performer:  Jeffrey Solow (Cello)
Conductor:  Gerhard Samuel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; USA 
Length: 18 Minutes 45 Secs. 

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