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Final Bell - Mazurek, Ovens, Glesser / Max Lifchitz


Release Date: 11/21/2006 
Label:  North/South Recordings   Catalog #: 1044   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ron MazurekDouglas OvensFrederic GlesserSteven Strunk,   ... 
Performer:  Max Lifchitz
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



FINAL BELL Max Lifchitz (pn) NORTH/SOUTH 1044 (74:31)


MAZUREK Final Bell. Innocence. Butterly Dream. Preludes. OVENS Variations. GLESSER For One. STRUNK Clones. SEMMLER Miniatures. Read more class="COMPOSER12">BOYADJIAN Sonata No. 3


The indefatigable and immensely talented Max Lifchitz has produced another collection of contemporary piano music by American-based composers, including a backward glance to a suite from the early 1940s. Several of these pieces were dedicated to Lifchitz; all are imbued with his characteristic sympathy and probative musicality.


Four works of the late Ronald Mazurek are given pride of place in this interesting progression of pieces. Final Bell represents the composer’s response to 9/11, all the more eloquent for its brevity and extreme economy of means. Mazurek’s three Preludes (1992) comprise a more elaborated work, calling for electronic sounds in addition to those of the “acoustic” instrument. Variations for Piano (1998) by Douglas Ovens is actually a set of six pieces, each of which varies the composer’s Improvisation No. 4 for marimba. The core material’s genesis as a percussion piece notwithstanding, the piano-writing is idiomatic and the progression of musical thoughts vividly contrasted. Frederic Glesser explores the upper reaches of the keyboard, mostly within a hushed dynamic range, in For One (1990), a work as much about silence as about sound. Steven Strunk’s Clones is among the more extrovert compositions in the collection, aggressively exploiting the full keyboard in an unabashedly serialist dialect. Miniatures (1942), by the German émigré Alexander Semmler (1900–1977), represents the earliest music on the program. Reminiscent of Kinderszenen or Children’s Corner , each piece is a self-contained vignette, described in the language of mid-20th-century piano technique. At a little over 21 minutes, the Sonata No. 3 (2005) of Hayg Boyadjian (b. 1938) is the longest piece on the disc. The textures of the opening movement are sparse: each hand plays mostly single lines so that, as chordal textures gradually emerge, they assume a scintillating richness. The slow movement requires the pianist to recite a poem by the composer, beginning, “I dreamt a dream of distant memories,” punctuated by music akin to the melodramas of Liszt and Strauss. Subtle borrowings from Armenian folk music are recognizable without pervading the score.


The sound of the Baldwin Lifchitz uses is faithfully reproduced with excellent microphone placement. Recommended.


FANFARE: Patrick Rucker
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Works on This Recording

1.
Final Bell by Ron Mazurek
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
2.
Innocence by Ron Mazurek
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
3.
Butterfly Dream by Ron Mazurek
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
4.
Preludes (3) by Ron Mazurek
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
5.
Variations by Douglas Ovens
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
6.
For One by Frederic Glesser
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: 1990; USA 
7.
Clones by Steven Strunk
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
8.
Miniatures (6) by Alexander Semmler
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
9.
Sonata for Piano no 3 by Hayg Boyadjian
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
10.
Preludes (3) for Piano by Ron Mazurek
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
11.
Miniatures (6) for Piano by Alexander Semmler
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 

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