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Five New Works For Cello - Steinberg, Siskind, Wexler, Wanamaker, Heinick / Mathias Wexler

Release Date: 03/10/2009 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1092   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Paul SteinbergMathias WexlerGregory WanamakerDavid Heinick,   ... 
Performer:  David HeinickMathias Wexler
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 47 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

FIVE NEW WORKS FOR CELLO Mathias Wexler (vc); David Heinick (pn) 1 ALBANY TROY 1092 (47:25)

STEINBERG The Upper West Side. SISKIND 3 Epiphanies. WEXLER Night Breeze. WANAMAKER Metallicellissimo. HEINICK Read more class="ARIAL12b">Cello Sonata 1

The music on this recording showcases a group of composers who are all colleagues at the Crane School of Music (part of the State University of New York). Paul Steinberg’s Upper West Side for solo cello was written for Mathias Wexler in 1997 and is based on the composer’s recollections of visiting the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The music can be overtly descriptive, as in “Kiosk Ants,” which describes the movement of workers around a kiosk near a subway. The music buzzes with life. Similarly, the stars of “The Hayden Planetarium” are described in pointillist style before popular music meets Beethoven (“An die Freude”) in “Hack Attack Blues.”

Each of Paul Siskind’s Three Epiphanies (1987), again for solo cello, was composed within a week, a time limit that the composer himself decided upon. The three movements comprise “Elegy,” “Fantasy,” and “Invention.” Wexler plays with such concentration that these works emerge as mesmeric gems. Wexler himself pens one piece, the jazz-inflected multi-metric etude, Night Breeze , of 2001. Needless to say, Wexler is a fierce advocate of his own music. This is an engaging and enjoyable piece.

George Wanamaker’s Metallicellissimo comes out of the energy and virtuosity of heavy metal guitar solos. It makes fearsome demands of its soloist, challenges that only seem to inspire Wexler. Finally, we come to David Heinick’s Cello Sonata (2001). Heinick refers to the musical language of the first movement, Prelude, as “freely tonal, somewhat postminimalist.” Minimalism is an evident influence, to be sure. The slow movement is a big-boned and expressive Passacaglia; the finale a skittish Scherzo.

The cello sound is beautifully caught by the engineers. The ink would still have been wet on some of the manuscripts at the time of recording (August 2002), but it appears that this disc has had to wait until 2009 to see the light of day.

FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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Works on This Recording

The Upper West Side by Paul Steinberg
Performer:  David Heinick (Piano), Mathias Wexler (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997 
Length: 8 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Night Breeze by Mathias Wexler
Performer:  David Heinick (Piano), Mathias Wexler (Cello)
Written: 2001 
Length: 1 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Metallicellissimo by Gregory Wanamaker
Performer:  Mathias Wexler (Cello), David Heinick (Piano)
Length: 3 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Sonata for Cello and Piano by David Heinick
Performer:  Mathias Wexler (Cello), David Heinick (Piano)
Written: 2001 
Length: 19 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Epiphanies (3) by Paul Siskind
Performer:  David Heinick (Piano), Mathias Wexler (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987 
Length: 12 Minutes 1 Secs. 

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