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Historic Works For Percussion Ensemble (1931-1942) / Siwe


Release Date: 01/27/2004 
Label:  Equilibrium   Catalog #: 62   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Edgard VarèseJohanna M. BeyerHenry CowellCarlos Chavez,   ... 
Conductor:  Thomas Siwe
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 52 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The title of this disc is accurate as far as it goes, but it could go farther. These are historic works, due to their age (all composed between 1931 and 1942), significance, and influence, but they could also be deemed “classic,” given their sustained popularity within the percussion ensemble repertoire, and the characteristics they share—unusual yet (by today’s standards) restrained and proportioned rhythms, mildly exotic (again, by today’s standards) timbres, and a strong sense of compositional drama. (The one exception, popularity-wise, being the two-minute study in patterned minimalism by the neglected Johanna Beyer, a student of Cowell, Dane Rudhyar, and Ruth Crawford, who—until her death in 1944—composed experimental works, including Read more one, Music of the Spheres, calling for “three electrical instruments,” in 1938!) Each piece offers its own perspective on then-current modernist tendencies, combining ethnic qualities with newly devised forms, from the echoes of gamelan in Lou Harrison’s Canticle No. 3 to the Mexican folk instruments used in Carlos Chávez’s Toccata and the Renaissance isorhythmic patterns and modal melodic contours of Alan Hovhaness’s October Mountain. The Siwe-conducted ensemble from the University of Michigan clearly articulates the various rhythmic layers and strands—especially the organized clatter of Ionisation—and the close, ungimmicky ambience reveals the contrast of colors and degrees of resonance with depth and presence. A nice job by all concerned, and a good bang for your buck.

-- Art Lange, Fanfare [7/2004]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Ionisation by Edgard Varèse
Conductor:  Thomas Siwe
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929-1931; USA 
2.
IV by Johanna M. Beyer
Conductor:  Thomas Siwe
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
3.
Ostinato Pianissimo by Henry Cowell
Conductor:  Thomas Siwe
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
4.
Toccata for Percussion by Carlos Chavez
Conductor:  Thomas Siwe
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; Mexico 
5.
Canticle no 3 by Lou Harrison
Conductor:  Thomas Siwe
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941/1989; USA 
6.
October Mountain, Op. 135 by Alan Hovhaness
Conductor:  Thomas Siwe
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942 

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