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Places In Time - Mcquillan, Etc / Julius P. Williams, Et Al

Release Date: 12/11/2007 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 979   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Armand QualliotineLee McQuillanChristopher MontgomeryHelmuth Fuch,   ... 
Performer:  Lucy Yates
Conductor:  Julius P. Williams
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dvorak Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

PLACES IN TIME • Julius P. Williams, cond; Lucy Yates (sop);1 Dvo?ák SO • ALBANY TROY 980 (60:12)

MCQUILLAN Sweet Home Suite QUALLIOTINE No siàn le triste pene.1 His Cove Is Now the Firmament. MONTGOMERY Two Cities. H. FUCHS Chicago Fantasie Overture

Each work on this disc of music by living Americans is tied to a very specific place: certain cities, in most cases, but also places as intimate as a poet’s desk. Lee McQuillan’s Sweet Home Suite is a quarter-hour tour of his Connecticut hometown. The first movement, “The Coffee House,” is chattering, quick, and colorfully orchestrated, including accent percussion. “Strange Bedfellows” deals with town politics, not sex; it’s uneasy, with wisps of
Read more material quietly contending with each other, rather like the less burlesque passages of the scherzo of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony. “The Last Farm” is a pastoral elegy, and “Along the River” sounds a little like Virgil Thomson, but is less blocky in its orchestration.

Armand Qualliotine’s No siàn le triste pene sets a sonnet by Cavalcanti (1250–1300) in which the poet’s melancholy quills and scissors address him. The tonally uncertain vocal setting is introduced and followed by movements for strings alone, and the work concludes with a brief vocalise. Soprano Lucy Yates conveys the text well, although some listeners may be put off by her vibrato, which intensifies and widens almost to the point of wobble at high pitch or dynamics. The strings-only scoring and static emotional content of the poem render this 14-minute work rather monochromatic, but Qualliotine’s His Cove Is Now the Firmament employs the full orchestra, and the added color helps a great deal. This latter work honors Qualliotine’s late composition teacher, John Lessard, and the place where he lived on Long Island. It’s a free-form work whose mood seems distantly related to that of Piston’s New England Sketches, although the thematic materials are more fragmentary. It’s not melancholy so much as reverent, and ends in slow, quiet sparkle.

Christopher Montgomery’s Two Cities depicts American metropolises of the past and future. The first movement, “Rebirth: New York 1948,” refers to Montgomery’s personal rebirth when he arrived in New York as a teenager from the Midwest. It doesn’t rely on the bustle you’d expect; most of the piece suggests that Montgomery had his rebirth at dawn in Central Park, or maybe even at St. John the Divine. Speaking of the latter, “An American Atlantis: New Orleans 2200” imagines that city in its eventual watery grave; the piece is a shallower Engulfed Cathedral, where the city seems to lie just beneath the surface, in still, cloudy water. Helmuth Fuchs’s Chicago Fantasie Overture is an episodic piece, initially a little dreamlike and restless; eventually it picks up and takes on a quasi-comic character, in some ways a stripped-down version of something you’d hear in Mahler’s Third.

Julius P. Williams leads the Dvo?ák Symphony Orchestra—also known as the Prague Radio Orchestra—in secure, committed performances. The playing may lack the panache of one of the world’s major ensembles, but those orchestras don’t play this sort of music, and at any rate the Prague group is vastly superior to the scrappy Polish, Icelandic, and Japanese bands that recorded this sort of non-academic American music back in the 1950s and 60s. If you used to collect those CRI and Desto LPs, despite everything, and you’d like to hear what the contemporary counterparts of those midcentury composers are up to today, this disc should please.

FANFARE: James Reel
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Works on This Recording

Noi sian le triste by Armand Qualliotine
Performer:  Lucy Yates (Soprano)
Conductor:  Julius P. Williams
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dvorak Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2004; USA 
Sweet Home Suite by Lee McQuillan
Conductor:  Julius P. Williams
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dvorak Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
His Cove Is Now the Firmament by Armand Qualliotine
Conductor:  Julius P. Williams
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dvorak Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2001; USA 
Two Cities by Christopher Montgomery
Conductor:  Julius P. Williams
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dvorak Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Chicago Fantasie Overture by Helmuth Hans Fuchs
Conductor:  Julius P. Williams
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dvorak Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 

Sound Samples

Sweet Home Suite: I. The Coffee House
Sweet Home Suite: II. Strange Bedfellows
Sweet Home Suite: III. The Last Farm
Sweet Home Suite: IV. Along the River
Noi Sian Le Triste: I. Introduzione
Noi Sian Le Triste: II. Sonetto
Noi Sian Le Triste: III. Tristezza
Noi Sian Le Triste: IV. Termine
2 Cities: No. 1. Rebirth: New York 1948
2 Cities: No. 2. An American Atlantis: New Orleans 2200
Chicago Fantasie Overture
His Cove is Now the Firmament

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