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Expressions For Chamber Orchestra

Tann / Beken / Quilling / Lifchitz
Release Date: 08/30/2011 
Label:  North/South Recordings   Catalog #: 1054   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Hilary TannMunir Nurettin BekenHoward QuillingMax Lifchitz
Performer:  Munir Nurettin BekenAnn Ellsworth
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

EXPRESSIONS FOR CHAMBER ORCHESTRA Max Lifchitz, cond; North/South CO; Münir N. Beken (oud 1 ); Ann Ellsworth (hn 2 ) NORTH/SOUTH 1054 (64:15)

TANN The Walls of Morlais Castle. 1 BEKEN Oud Concerto. QUILLING Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Remembrance. LIFCHITZ Expressions. 2 Yellow Ribbons No. 40

This North/South disc showcases new music by four American composers of consequence. North/South Consonance is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting, performing, and recording the music of living composers. It has sponsored a concert series in New York City since 1980, and in 1992 it began to record selected compositions in order to make them available to a wider audience.

Welsh-born Hillary Tann’s evocation of the 13th-century Morlais Castle ruins takes the listener on a trip to the mists and moors of the British Isles. The composer, who now lives in upstate New York, is a true nature lover. In her musical portrait, she notes that the walls of the castle are fast turning back into the rocks from which they were built. Tann first scored the piece for a trio of violin, viola, and cello, but for this recording she reworked it for string orchestra. She sculpts the sound into an interesting representation of the ancient castle as it is seen through the mists of the Welsh countryside.

Munir Nureddin Beken’s Concerto is for Turkish Oud. The oud is a large-bodied, short-stemmed stringed instrument played not only in Turkey but also throughout the Arab world. It bears some similarity to the European lute. Beken’s concerto takes this ancient instrument, which was built to play Middle Eastern music, and uses it in a Western musical form where its unique sounds add spice to the melting pot of fused culture. I particularly enjoy the distinctive cadenza that ends the piece.

Howard Quilling’s three-movement Remembrance was written in a modern romantic style and it offers a platform for the listener’s own memories. The slow beginning of the first movement contrasts with the scherzo, which may invoke happier times. The final movement, marked “slow and intense,” serves as a reminder that art lasts longer than the artist.

Max Lifchitz conducts the orchestra on all the selections. Lifchitz was born in Mexico City but studied at Juilliard and Harvard. In 1976, he won the Gaudeamus Prize for performers of 20th-century music. It is he who founded the North/South Chamber Orchestra. Although all of the music on his tracks is interesting and persuasive, the first movement of Lifchitz’s Yellow Ribbons No. 40, titled “Distant Fanfare,” is the most impressive. It is scored for solo horn, strings, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and piano, a combination that brings out the beauty of the exquisite horn calls played by Ann Ellsworth. Written as homage to the former United States hostages in Iran, it represents the artistic and political freedom that Americans so often take for granted. To my mind, it celebrates all the heroes whose deeds are recounted in our history. Attaining a concert-hall ambience on the disc was the most important goal for recording engineer Daniel Czernecki, and he has achieved it without any compression of dynamics. He therefore asks the listener to play this compact disc at a moderate volume.

FANFARE: Maria Nockin
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Works on This Recording

The Walls of Morlais Castle by Hilary Tann
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1998; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/07/2010 
Venue:  Recital Hall of the Purchase Performing 
Length: 10 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Concerto for Turkish Ud & orchestra by Munir Nurettin Beken
Performer:  Munir Nurettin Beken (Oud)
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Written: 2005 
Date of Recording: 01/12/2010 
Venue:  Recital Hall of the Purchase Performing 
Length: 16 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Remembrance, for chamber orchestra by Howard Quilling
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Written: 2007 
Date of Recording: 01/11/2010 
Venue:  Recital Hall of the Purchase Performing 
Length: 13 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Expressions, for chamber orchestra by Max Lifchitz
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Written: 1982 
Date of Recording: 01/13/2010 
Venue:  Recital Hall of the Purchase Performing 
Length: 8 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Yellow Ribbons No. 40, for horn & chamber orchestra by Max Lifchitz
Performer:  Ann Ellsworth (French Horn)
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Written: 2005 
Date of Recording: 01/08/2010 
Venue:  Recital Hall of the Purchase Performing 
Length: 14 Minutes 12 Secs. 

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