George Crumb

Biography

Born: October 24, 1929; Charleston, WV  
George Crumb was one of the most distinctive compositional voices to emerge in the second half of the twentieth century. A charter member of the "New Virtuosity" movement, Crumb developed an expansive musical palette noted for its emphasis on extended instrumental and vocal techniques, its rich and sophisticated musical allusions, an evocative theatricality, and a poet's sense of sonorous detail.

Crumb was born in West Virginia in 1929
Read more into a musical family, and studied at various schools in the Midwest as well as at the Berlin Hochschule as a Fulbright Scholar. He eventually joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, where he composed and taught for three decades. His highly intuitive approach to composition, with its emphasis on texture, timbre, and line, bore substantial fruit during the 1960s, including the Madrigals (1966-1969), Eleven Echoes of Autumn (1965), and, inspired by the Apollo 11 lunar landing, Night of the Four Moons (1969). Echoes of Time and the River, one of Crumb's rare orchestral works, earned the composer the Pulitzer Prize.

Crumb's style remained remarkably consistent during the subsequent decades. Black Angels (1970) used a dizzying arsenal of extended techniques to evoke a surreal soundscape of the Vietnam War. Star Child (1977) applied Crumb's acute ear for nuance to an impressive vocal/orchestral ensemble. Ancient Voices of Children (1970), with its unimaginable timbral variety and taxingly dramatic vocal lines, became a near-instant classic of the postwar period. It also demonstrated the resonance between his compositional style and the writing style of Garcia Lorca, whose poems would repeatedly serve as the inspiration for and/or words to a number of Crumb's pieces.

Crumb's works became known also for their almost choreographic visual elegance in performance -- and, in fact, numerous dance companies have composed dance pieces to be performed with his work. Crumb's poignant use of musical borrowing and stylistic allusion also add a sense of reflective history and introspection to his compositions. In some cases, this visual approach to design spills over into the very notation: some of the pieces in the two-volume keyboard collection Makrokosmos (1972-1973) appear engraved on staves that turn and twist into a variety of curious Zodiac symbols. Having eschewed process-oriented compositional techniques, his output slowed in later years as greater demands were placed on his creative faculties to find continually new sounds and inspirations -- though by the turn of the century, his historical importance was already firmly established. Read less
George Crumb: Gnomic Variations; Processional; Ancient Voices Of Children
Release Date: 08/12/2000   Label: Col Legno  
Catalog: 31876   Number of Discs: 1
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There are 80 George Crumb recordings available.

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Works

George Crumb


MOST POPULAR WORKS
Part I: Departure: No. 1. Threnody I: Night of the Electric Insects
Part I: Departure: No. 2. Sounds of Bones and Flutes
Part I: Departure: No. 3. Lost Bells
Part I: Departure: No. 4. Devil-music
Part I: Departure: No. 5. Danse macabre
Part II: Absence: No. 6. Pavana Lachrymae
Part II: Absence: No. 7. Threnody II: Black Angels!
Part II: Absence: No. 8. Sarabanda de la Muerte Oscura
Part II: Absence: No. 9. Lost Bells
Part III: Return: No. 10. God-music
Part III: Return: No. 11. Ancient Voices
Part III: Return: No. 12: Ancient Voices
Part III: Return: No. 13. Threnody III: Night of the Electric Insects
I. Alpha Centauri
II. Beta Cygni
III. Gamma Draconis
IV. Delta Orionis
Part I: I. Primeval sounds (Cancer)
Part I: II. Proteus (Pisces)
Part I: III. Pastorale (Taurus)
Part I: IV. Crucifixus (Capricorn)
Part II: V. The Phantom Gondolier (Scorpio)
Part II: VI. Night-Spell I (Sagittarius)
Part II: VII. Music of Shadows (Libra)
Part II: VIII. The Magic Circle of Infinity (Leo)
Part III: IX. The Abyss of Time (Virgo)
Part III: X. The Spring-Fire (Aries)
Part III: XI. Dream Images (Gemini)
Part III: XII. Spiral Galaxy (Aquarius)
I. Nocturnal Sounds (The Awakening)
II. Wanderer-Fantasie
III. The Advent
IV. Myth
V. Music of the Starry Night
Notturno I: serenamente
Notturno II: scorrevole, vivace possibile
Notturno III: contemplativo
Notturno IV: con un sentimento di nostalgia
1. Sehr langsam
2. Rasch
3. Sehr langsam
4. Bewegt
1. Moderato
Refrain 1
I. Dark Paths
II. Fugitive Sounds
Refrain 2
III. Forgotten Dirges
IV. Fugitive Sounds
Refrain 3
V. Nocturnal
I. Fantasia: Andante espressivo e con molto rubato
II. Tema pastorale con variazioni
III. Toccata: Largo e drammatico - Allegro vivace
Vocalise (...for the beginnig of time)
Variations on Sea-Time: Sea Theme
Variations on Sea-Time: Archeozic
Variations on Sea-Time: Proterozoic
Variations on Sea-Time: Paleozoic
Variations on Sea-Time: Mesozoic
Variations on Sea-Time: Cenozoic
Sea-Nocturne (...for the end of time)
WORKS
I. Nocturnal Theme
II. Charade
III. Pemonition
IV. Cobweb and Peaseblossom
V. Incantation
VI. Golliwog Revisted
VII. Blues in the Night
VIII. Cadenza with Tolling Bells
IX. Midnight Transformation
I. The Visitation
II. Berceuse for the Infant Jesus
III. The Shepherds' Noel
IV. Adoration of the Magi
V. Nativity Dance
VI. Canticle of the Holy Night
VII. Carol of the Bells
Voices From the Morning of the Earth (American Songbook VI): I. My Lord, What a Beautiful Morning!
Voices From the Morning of the Earth (American Songbook VI): II. A Mountaineer's Sad Song
Voices From the Morning of the Earth (American Songbook VI): III. Weep, All Ye Little Rains
Voices From the Morning of the Earth (American Songbook VI): IV. Dry Bones (Humoresque Macabre)
Voices From the Morning of the Earth (American Songbook VI): V. Put My Little Shoes Away (From the Ozarks)
Voices From the Morning of the Earth (American Songbook VI): VI. Blowin' in the Wind (Bob Dylan)
Voices From the Morning of the Earth (American Songbook VI): VII. When the Saints Go Marching In
Voices From the Morning of the Earth (American Songbook VI): VIII. Goodbye, Old Paint
Voices From the Morning of the Earth (American Songbook VI): IX. O Peter, Go-Ring-a dem Bells
Voices From the Morning of the Earth (American Songbook VI): X. Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
Part I: Departure: No. 1. Threnody I: Night of the Electric Insects
Part I: Departure: No. 2. Sounds of Bones and Flutes
Part I: Departure: No. 3. Lost Bells
Part I: Departure: No. 4. Devil-music
Part I: Departure: No. 5. Danse macabre
Part II: Absence: No. 6. Pavana Lachrymae
Part II: Absence: No. 7. Threnody II: Black Angels!
Part II: Absence: No. 8. Sarabanda de la Muerte Oscura
Part II: Absence: No. 9. Lost Bells
Part III: Return: No. 10. God-music
Part III: Return: No. 11. Ancient Voices
Part III: Return: No. 12: Ancient Voices
Part III: Return: No. 13. Threnody III: Night of the Electric Insects
I. Alpha Centauri
II. Beta Cygni
III. Gamma Draconis
IV. Delta Orionis
I. La Senorita del abanico (Senorita of the Fan)
II. La tarde (Afternoon)
III. Cancion cantada (A Song Sung)
IV. Caracola (Snail)
V. El lagarto esta llorando! (The Lizard is Crying)
VI. Cancioncilla sevillana (A Little Song from Seville)
VII. Cancion tonta (Silly Song)
Part I: I. Primeval sounds (Cancer)
Part I: II. Proteus (Pisces)
Part I: III. Pastorale (Taurus)
Part I: IV. Crucifixus (Capricorn)
Part II: V. The Phantom Gondolier (Scorpio)
Part II: VI. Night-Spell I (Sagittarius)
Part II: VII. Music of Shadows (Libra)
Part II: VIII. The Magic Circle of Infinity (Leo)
Part III: IX. The Abyss of Time (Virgo)
Part III: X. The Spring-Fire (Aries)
Part III: XI. Dream Images (Gemini)
Part III: XII. Spiral Galaxy (Aquarius)
Part I: I. Morning Music (Cancer)
Part I: II. The Mystic Chord (Sagittarius)
Part I: III. Rain-Death Variations (Pisces)
Part I: IV. Twin Suns (Gemini)
Part II: V. Ghost-Nocturne - for the Druids of Stonehenge (Virgo)
Part II: VI. Gargoyles (Taurus)
Part II: VII. Tora! Tora! (Scorpio)
Part II: VIII. A Prophecy of Nostradamus (Aries)
Part III: IX. Cosmic Wind (Libra)
Part III: X. Voices from Corona Borealis (Aquarius)
Part III: XI. Litany of the Galactic Bells (Leo)
Part III: XII. Agnus Dei (Capricorn)
I. Nocturnal Sounds (The Awakening)
II. Wanderer-Fantasie
III. The Advent
IV. Myth
V. Music of the Starry Night
Notturno I: serenamente
Notturno II: scorrevole, vivace possibile
Notturno III: contemplativo
Notturno IV: con un sentimento di nostalgia
1. Sehr langsam
2. Rasch
3. Sehr langsam
4. Bewegt
1. Moderato
Refrain 1
I. Dark Paths
II. Fugitive Sounds
Refrain 2
III. Forgotten Dirges
IV. Fugitive Sounds
Refrain 3
V. Nocturnal
I. Fantasia: Andante espressivo e con molto rubato
II. Tema pastorale con variazioni
III. Toccata: Largo e drammatico - Allegro vivace
Vocalise (...for the beginnig of time)
Variations on Sea-Time: Sea Theme
Variations on Sea-Time: Archeozic
Variations on Sea-Time: Proterozoic
Variations on Sea-Time: Paleozoic
Variations on Sea-Time: Mesozoic
Variations on Sea-Time: Cenozoic
Sea-Nocturne (...for the end of time)


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