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Music Of Edward Collins, Vol. 8 / Sussman Albers Polonsky Trio


Release Date: 05/12/2009 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1086   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Edward Joseph Collins
Performer:  Patrice MichaelsAnna PolonskyJeffrey SykesJulie Albers,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sussman-Albers-Polonsky Trio
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



E. J. COLLINS Nocturne. 1 Etude. 1 Again the Year Has Come to the Spring. 1,2 June Night. 1,2 Piano Trio, “Geronimo.” 3 4 Waltzes, op. 15. 4 Valses charactéristiques: No. 2; 4 Read more class="ARIAL12b"> No. 6. 1 Frédéric François. 4 Joshua Fit de Battle ob Jericho. 4 The 5:48 4 Anne Polonsky (pn); 1 Patrice Michaels (sop); 2 Sussmann/Albers/Polonsky Tr; 3 Jeffrey Sykes (pn) 4 ALBANY TROY 1086 (73:35 Text and Translation)


This is Volume 8 and the latest in a series of Albany Records releases devoted to the music of American composer Edward Joseph Collins (1886–1951). A quick perusal of my personal collection found Volume 3 on the shelf, containing the composer’s Third Piano Concerto and his B-Minor Symphony, so I can’t claim to have never heard of Collins before. But having no recollection of the dim and distant past in which I must have acquired and listened to it, I might as well be coming to Collins’s music for the first time.


Born in Joliet, Illinois, he studied under Rudolf Ganz in Chicago, and then accompanied Ganz to Berlin, where he enrolled in the Hochschule für Musik, taking further instruction in composition from Humperdinck and Bruch. In this regard, Collins followed a familiar path taken by other American composers—MacDowell, Chadwick, John Knowles Paine, and Horatio Parker—whose “finishing” depended on a proper German pedigree from the likes of Bruch, Raff, Rheinberger, and Reinecke. Thus credentialed, they returned to the States, taking up various university and conservatory posts, and penned music of a basically German Romantic bent. Upon his return to the U.S., Collins played accompanist to Ernestine Schumann-Heink, the famous singer. After a brief stint as assistant conductor at New York’s Century Opera Company and conducting appearances at the Bayreuth Wagner Festival, he eventually settled into a faculty position at the Chicago Musical College. His output consists of a handful of orchestral works, including the aforementioned Symphony, three piano concertos, various and sundry choral works and songs for solo voice, and a number of chamber and solo keyboard pieces.


One cannot listen to several of the solo piano pieces—Nocturne, Etude, the Four Waltzes, the two selections from the six Valses charactéristiques , and Frédéric François —without hearing echoes of Brahms’s late piano pieces, with perhaps a bit of an overlay of Debussy. The concluding two tracks, however— Joshua Fit de Battle ob Jericho and The 5:48 —are of a rather different musical persuasion. Clearly of a much later vintage (they date from the late 1940s), their spiky jazz rhythms and sharp dissonances suggest that Collins was by now in thrall to Gershwin, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and perhaps even Bernstein’s 1944 ballet, Fancy Free.


The two short songs, Again the Year Has Come to the Spring (1939) and June Night (1917), might have made a more favorable impression had Patrice Michael’s soprano been a bit less wobbly and her diction clearer. If not for the printed texts included in the booklet, one might be hard-pressed to make out all of the words. In any case, neither of these two efforts would seem to distinguish Collins as an inspired composer of songs.


The Piano Trio, at over 34 minutes, is the major work on the disc, and by all accounts it is a most appealing and significant addition to the piano-trio repertoire. Its date of composition is unknown, but the fact that it carries an opus number of 1 and that it was already being revised as early as 1921 tells us that Collins had to have been very young when he wrote it, perhaps even still a student at the Hochschule in Berlin. The “Geronimo” subtitle bears no relation to any known extra-musical program or to the use of any Native American material in the score. Repeated hearings don’t call to mind any specific references or influences I can cite. The style is a generalized late German Romanticism evidencing a mastery of both form and content. It is superbly played by Arnaud Sussmann, Anna Polonsky, and Julie Albers.


How much more of Collins’s music will be forthcoming from Albany is hard to say. But the present disc is well worth acquiring by those with an interest in the fairly large body of work by post-Romantic American-born composers who had their musical personalities forged in the turn-of-the-20th-century German school. Recommended.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

1. June night by Edward Joseph Collins
Performer:  Patrice Michaels (Soprano), Anna Polonsky (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sussman-Albers-Polonsky Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 2 Minutes 13 Secs. 
2. Frédéric François by Edward Joseph Collins
Performer:  Jeffrey Sykes (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sussman-Albers-Polonsky Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 36 Secs. 
3. The 5:48 by Edward Joseph Collins
Performer:  Jeffrey Sykes (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sussman-Albers-Polonsky Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940 
Length: 2 Minutes 19 Secs. 
4. Joshua Fit de Battle ob Jericho by Edward Joseph Collins
Performer:  Jeffrey Sykes (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sussman-Albers-Polonsky Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
5. Nocturne by Edward Joseph Collins
Performer:  Anna Polonsky (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sussman-Albers-Polonsky Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 5 Minutes 45 Secs. 
6. Etude by Edward Joseph Collins
Performer:  Anna Polonsky (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sussman-Albers-Polonsky Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
7. Again the year has come to the spring by Edward Joseph Collins
Performer:  Patrice Michaels (Soprano), Anna Polonsky (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sussman-Albers-Polonsky Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 16 Secs. 
8. Trio for Piano and Strings in G minor, Op. 1 "Geronimo" by Edward Joseph Collins
Performer:  Julie Albers (Cello), Arnaud Sussmann (Violin), Anna Polonsky (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sussman-Albers-Polonsky Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; Berlin, Germany 
Length: 33 Minutes 56 Secs. 
9. Four Waltzes, Op. 15 by Edward Joseph Collins
Performer:  Jeffrey Sykes (Piano), Anna Polonsky (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sussman-Albers-Polonsky Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; USA 
Length: 8 Minutes 8 Secs. 
10. Six Valses Caractèristiques, Op. 18: No. 2. Valse Elegante by Edward Joseph Collins
Performer:  Jeffrey Sykes (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sussman-Albers-Polonsky Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 31 Secs. 
11. Six Valses Caractèristiques, Op. 18: No. 6. Valse Capricieuse by Edward Joseph Collins
Performer:  Anna Polonsky (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sussman-Albers-Polonsky Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 37 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Nocturne
Etude
Daughter of the South: Again the year has come to the spring
June night
Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 1, "Geronimo": I. Allegro non troppo
Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 1, "Geronimo": II. Allegro (poco) vivace
Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 1, "Geronimo": III. Andante lugubre
Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 1, "Geronimo": IV. Allegro vivace
4 Waltzes, Op. 15: No. 1. in E major
4 Waltzes, Op. 15: No. 2. in B major
4 Waltzes, Op. 15: No. 3. in G sharp minor
4 Waltzes, Op. 15: No. 4. in A flat major
6 Characteristic Waltzes, Op. 18: No. 2. Valse elegante
6 Characteristic Waltzes, Op. 18: No. 6. Valse capricieuse
Frederic Francois
Joshua Fit de Battle of Jericho
The 5:48

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