Charles Wuorinen


Born: June 9, 1938; New York, NY  
With over 200 compositions to his credit, Charles Wuorinen is one of the most prolific contemporary American composers. Born in 1938, he studied at Columbia University, where he worked with Otto Luening, Vladimir Ussachevsky, and Jack Beeson. A major presence in American music for over four decades, Wuorinen has taught at numerous schools, including Columbia, Princeton, the New England Conservatory, the Manhattan School of Music, Yale, and SUNY Read more Buffalo. He has been on the faculty of Rutgers University since 1984. He has won numerous awards, such as the Lili Boulanger Memorial Award, the 1970 Pulitzer Prize (for Time's Encomium), and a McArthur Fellowship, to name a few.

Wuorinen's music is uniquely serial, and primarily 12-tone in nature. His major influences are the modernist European school, namely Schoenberg, though the influence of late Stravinsky and Babbitt are also unmistakable. Much of his music requires extreme virtuosity on the part of the performer, such as his Chamber Concertos, which typically include wide leaps, extreme dynamic contrasts, and a rapid exchange of pitches. Fractal geometry and the mathematical theories of Benoit Mandelbrot have influenced works such as Bamboula Squared and the Natural Fantasy for organ.

However, Wuorinen's later music begins to demonstrate tonal relationships, though to a limited degree, such as pitch-centered openings and conclusions, octave doublings, and timbral transpositions of thematic ideas. His music also evolved to include clear rhythmic relationships -- his earlier works avoided this characteristic -- and his melodies also became more conjunct in nature.

Wuorinen's music continues to evolve, with later works such as the Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra and New York Notes containing further rhythmic clarity, more recognizable melodic structures and clearer orchestration. Clearly this is not the style of the same composer as was found in his earlier works. His most recent works include Symphony Seven, a Piano Quintet for Ursula Oppens, and a Percussion Quartet.

Wuorinen is also the author of Simple Composition a useful text for composers who are beginning to use 12-tone techniques. Wuorinen has also been active as a pianist and has conducted his own works, as well as those of other contemporary composers, with many of major orchestras in the United States. In 1962, Wuorinen co-founded The Group for Contemporary Music, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of new chamber music. With his already impressive resume, extremely prolific output, and evolving but unique style, it is sure that Charles Wuorinen will be remembered for his numerous contributions to music, serialism and beyond. Read less
Wuorinen: Brokeback Mountain / Engel, Randle, Okulitch, Buck, Minutillo
Release Date: 03/31/2015   Label: Bel Air Classiques  
Catalog: 111   Number of Discs: 1
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There are 76 Charles Wuorinen recordings available.

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Charles Wuorinen

Wuorinen: A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky (1974-75) - Reliquary
Wuorinen: A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky (1974-75) - Variation
Wuorinen: A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky (1974-75) - Lament
Wuorinen: A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky (1974-75) - Variation continued
Wuorinen: A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky (1974-75) - Reliquary
Wuorinen: A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky (1974-75) - Coda
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Wuorinen: A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky (1974-75) - Reliquary
Wuorinen: A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky (1974-75) - Variation
Wuorinen: A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky (1974-75) - Lament
Wuorinen: A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky (1974-75) - Variation continued
Wuorinen: A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky (1974-75) - Reliquary
Wuorinen: A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky (1974-75) - Coda
I. Introduction and Recitative: Outside My Window the Japanese...
IIa. Scherzo: Laughing Gravy
IIb. Scherzo: Dear Sir or Madam
III. The Laughter of Dead Men
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No. 1. Beauty, Danger and Dismay
No. 2. Out of Danger
No. 3. Serious
No. 4. Hinterhof
No. 1. Blood and Lead
No. 2. Tiananmen
No. 3. The Ballad of the Shrieking Man
No. 4. Fireflies of the Sea
I. Before
II. After
I. Invocation
II. Interlude No. 1: Meditation
III. Creation History
IV. Interlude No. 2: Cosmology
V. Doxology
I. Helas madame
II. Faulte d'argent
III. Cela sans Plus
IV. Comment peult
V. Vive le Roy
VI. El Grillo, "Josquin a'Ascanio"
Entrance: Symphonia
Agnus Dei
Communion Motet
Exit: Symphonia
Agnus Dei
I. eighth note = 72
II. quarter note = 108 (leggiero)
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Interlude I
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Interlude II
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I. quarter note = 72, flexible
II. quarter note = 144
I. The Seven Lights
II. The Elders
III. The Chariot
IV. The Griffin
V. The Seven Virtues
VI. The Departure
VII. The Unveiling
Part I: Zembla, Zenda, Xanadu (Soraya, Haroun)
Part I: My father noticed none of this (Haroun)
Part I: Oh I am the ocean of notions (Rashid)
Part I: Excuse me if I mention (Mr. Sengupta)
Part I: If I could catch those words I spoke (Haroun)
Part I: Tell us a story (Chorus)
Part I: Well, what's the use? (Rashid)
Part I: I'm empowered (Mrs. Sengupta)
Part I: We are two men (Rashid, Two Men)
Part I: My fault again (Haroun)
Part I: Get on the bus (Chorus, Butt)
Part I: Soldiers everywhere (Haroun, Rashid)
Part I: All the people will vote for me (Buttoo)
Part I: The Moody Land (Haroun)
Part I: Now means now (Iff)
Part I: A person may choose what he cannot see (Iff)
Part I: I wish (Haroun)
Part I: An outlandish knight from the north country came (Princess, Haroun)
Part I: On the far side of the moon (Iff, Butt)
Part I: Now the lagoon is blue (Chorus)
Part I: War! (Chorus)
Part II: It's a Princess Rescue Story (Haroun, Rashid, Chorus)
Part II: What a chattering, clattering, quarreling crew (Haroun, Chorus)
Part II: Heart Shadow (Butt, Iff)
Part II: Hush for a moment (Chorus)
Part II: To the South Pole (Butt, Iff, Haroun, Bagha, Goopy, Mali)
Part II: Oh brave machine (Haroun)
Part II: Spies / You can't chop me (Khattam-shud, Mali)
Part II: I wish (Haroun)
Part II: War! (Chorus, Prince Bolo)
Part II: Batcheat's Song (Batcheat, Prince Bolo, Khattam-shud)
Part II: It's a Princess Rescue Story (Haroun, Chorus)
Part II: It's a Party! (Haroun, Rashid, Batcheat, Iff, Butt, Mali, Chorus)
Part II: Back Home (Soraya, Haroun, Butt, Rashid)
I. Flight from the Three Beasts
II. The Mission of Virgil
III. Limbo: They enter Limbo (a) Poets (b) Warriors (c) Philosophers - Leaving Limbo -
IV. Paolo and Francesca: (a) Arrival (b) The Story (c) Departure
V. Monsters of the Prime: (a) Geryon (b) Nimrod (c) Antaeus
VI. Satan
VII. Journey through the Center

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