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A Celebration - Perkinson: Grass, Etc / Freeman, Et Al

Perkinson / Joubert / Allen / Whittington / Brey
Release Date: 11/29/2005 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 87   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Coleridge-Tayl Perkinson
Performer:  Joseph JoubertSanford AllenTahirah WhittingtonAshley Horne,   ... 
Conductor:  Paul Freeman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago SinfoniettaNew Black Music Repertory Ensemble Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

American composer Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson died of cancer in 2004, in his early 70s, and judging from this disc his is a voice well worth investigating. Although clearly inspired by his African-American heritage, on the audible evidence it won't do to make too much of this. The early Sinfonietta No. 1 for Strings (1955) recalls the kind of music that, say, Tippett was writing at about the same time (think of his Concerto for Double String Orchestra). The fourth-based harmony, the tight formal control, and the neo-classical idiom all put Perkinson squarely in the mainstream of contemporary tonal composition, mid-20th century. Grass, subtitled a "Poem for Piano, Strings, and Percussion", adapts a more fluid formal approach, but Read more the idiom is recognizably similar.

The remaining pieces are chamber works. Quartet No. 1 is allegedly based on the Negro spiritual "Calvary", but the tune isn't quoted extensively and the piece shares a similarly concise, three-movement form as the Sinfonietta. Both Blue/s Forms for Solo Violin and Lamentations for solo cello, based on Black/folk songs (including a Billings-like "Fuguing tune" and another paraphrase of "Calvary"), are welcome additions to the repertoire for solo strings and would make excellent concert novelties. So, for that matter, would the Louisiana Blues Strut, here given a lively performance by violinist Ashley Horne (Sanford Allen is the very capable solo violinist in Blue/s Forms).

In fact, all of the performances are excellent, from Paul Freeman's Chicago Sinfonietta and cellist Tahira Whittington, to the three musicians (including Allen) offering a loving performance of Perkinson's last musical thoughts--a brief movement for string trio left incomplete at his death. Indeed, my only reservation concerning this release, beyond a touch of roughness in the tone of the New Black Music Repertory Ensemble Quartet, stems from the fact that the mixture of orchestral and chamber music, though admirably designed to showcase the composer, may not strike all listeners as suitable for continuous playing. Similarly, the sonics, while excellent from piece to piece, understandably offer changing perspectives from orchestral to chamber works. But don't let these small reservations prevent you from sampling this most welcome tribute.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Sinfonietta No. 1 for strings by Coleridge-Tayl Perkinson
Conductor:  Paul Freeman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Sinfonietta
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1954-1955 
Venue:  Lund Auditorium, Dominican Unversity, Ri 
Length: 15 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Grass, poem for piano, strings & percussion by Coleridge-Tayl Perkinson
Performer:  Joseph Joubert (Piano)
Conductor:  Paul Freeman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Sinfonietta
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1956 
Venue:  Lund Auditorium, Dominican Unversity, Ri 
Length: 16 Minutes 14 Secs. 
String Quartet No. 1 based on the spiritual "Calvary" by Coleridge-Tayl Perkinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Black Music Repertory Ensemble Quartet
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1956 
Date of Recording: 05/06/2005 
Venue:  WFMT Chicago 
Length: 17 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Blue/s Forms, for solo violin by Coleridge-Tayl Perkinson
Performer:  Sanford Allen (Violin)
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1972 
Venue:  Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, N 
Length: 6 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Lamentations: Black Folk Song Suite, for solo cello by Coleridge-Tayl Perkinson
Performer:  Tahirah Whittington (Cello)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1973 
Venue:  Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, N 
Length: 15 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Louisiana Blues Strut (A Cakewalk), for violin by Coleridge-Tayl Perkinson
Performer:  Ashley Horne (Violin)
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2001 
Date of Recording: 05/06/2005 
Venue:  WFMT Chicago 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Movement for string trio by Coleridge-Tayl Perkinson
Performer:  Jesse Levine (Viola), Carter Brey (Cello), Sanford Allen (Violin)
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2004 
Venue:  Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, N 
Length: 4 Minutes 1 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Sinfonietta No. 1: I. Sonata Allegro
Sinfonietta No. 1: II. Song Form: Largo
Sinfonietta No. 1: III. Rondo: Allegro furioso
String Quartet No. 1, "Calvary": I. Allegro
String Quartet No. 1, "Calvary": II. quarter note = 54
String Quartet No. 1, "Calvary": III. Rondo: Allegro vivace
Blues Forms for Solo Violin: I. Plain Blue/s: quarter note = 88-96
Blues Forms for Solo Violin: II. Just Blue/s: Very free
Blues Forms for Solo Violin: III. Jettin' Blue/s: Fast
Lamentations, "Black / Folk Song Suite": I. Fuguing Tune: resolute
Lamentations, "Black / Folk Song Suite": II. Song Form: plaintive
Lamentations, "Black / Folk Song Suite": III. Calvary Ostinato (quarter note = 80-88)
Lamentations, "Black / Folk Song Suite": IV. Perpetual Motion (quarter note = 76)
Louisiana Blues Strut: (A Cakewalk)
Movement for String Trio

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