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Harrison: Violin Concerto, Grand Duo & Double Music / Fain, Boriskin, Gil-Ordonez, PostClassical Ensemble


Release Date: 04/14/2017 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559825  
Composer:  Lou HarrisonJohn Cage
Performer:  Tim FainMichael Boriskin
Conductor:  Angel Gil-Ordóñez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Post-Classical Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Lou Harrison was a composer far ahead of his time. A protean innovator, he epoused "world music" before it had a name, and this recording documents his pioneering roles as a composer for percussion and as an integrator of Western and Indonesian idioms. The Concerto for Violin and Percussion, both intimate and vigorous, demonstrates his experimental enthusiasm in the use of non-pitched percussion. The Grand Duo for Violin and Piano is a remarkable example of gamelan-infused chamber music while Double Music, co-composed with Harrison's friend John Cage, is a well-known product of their celebrated San Francisco percussion concerts. Lou Harrison was a composer far ahead of his time. A protean innovator, he epoused "world music" before it had a name, and this recording documents his pioneering roles as a composer for percussion and as an integrator of Western and Indonesian idioms. The Concerto for Violin and Percussion, both intimate and vigorous, demonstrates his experimental enthusiasm in the use of non-pitched percussion. The Grand Duo for Violin and Piano is a remarkable example of gamelan-infused chamber music while Double Music, co-composed with Harrison's friend John Cage, is a well-known product of their celebrated San Francisco percussion concerts. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin with Percussion Orchestra by Lou Harrison
Performer:  Tim Fain (Violin)
Conductor:  Angel Gil-Ordóñez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Post-Classical Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; USA 
2.
Grand Duo for Violin and Piano by Lou Harrison
Performer:  Tim Fain (Violin), Michael Boriskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985 
3.
Double Music by John Cage
Conductor:  Angel Gil-Ordóñez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Post-Classical Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; USA 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Happy Centennial, Lou! May 25, 2017 By Dean Frey See All My Reviews "This disc (and this review) is well-timed. We recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of Lou Harrison's birth. There seems to be at least some small interest out there in what should be a major event, though I would have hoped for a bit more hype for one of my favourite American composers. In any case this splendid new disc from Naxos is a suitable marker for Lou's Centennial. I recently came across a picture of the Surrealists in Paris: Man Ray, Hans Arp, Yves Tanguy, Andre Breton, Tristan Tzara, Salvador Dali, Paul Eluard, Max Ernst and Rene Crevel. There's so much genius here, Man Ray's versatility and Ernst's audacity, Dali's schtick and Breton's vision, all in one place and pretty much all from the same generation. You'd need to do a fair bit of Photoshopping to come up with a similar shot of America's great crop of modernist composers, partly because there's a wider range of ages, with Copland, Cowell, Bowles, Virgil Thompson and Gershwin born around the turn of the century; Barber, Cage, Schuman and Carter in the next decade, and the babies Lou Harrison & Leonard Bernstein (whose Centennial is next summer) ten years later. There's a much broader geographic range as well, from the West Coast (Harrison was born in Portland OR) to New York (where he worked for The New York Herald Tribune as a music critic) to Paris (where he did not go to study, unlike so many of his colleagues). Harrison's own genius is pretty clear, nurtured by his mentor Henry Cowell, his teacher at UCLA Arnold Schoenberg, and later in New York, that great well-spring of American modernism Charles Ives. The Concerto for Violin and Percussion is a great introduction to Harrison's music, with its kitchen-sink "junk" percussion and surprisingly full-bodied emotion from the solo violin. Harrison acknowledged the influence of Alban Berg's Violin Concerto, about which he said "It really walloped me." The soloist Tim Fain plays with the required virtuosity as well as the sensitivity and musicality to scale the heights and plumb the depths of this remarkable work, one of the great American concertos, matched in Harrison's works by his Piano Concerto. Angel Gil-Ordonez's PostClassical Ensemble provide robust support, with an equal virtuosity on the percussion side. Fain is joined by pianist Michael Boriskin in Harrison's Grand Duo, which treats the piano very much in a percussive role, though considering how important percussion is to Harrison it's more a question of opening up new options for the pianist rather than limiting them. The short but not slight Double Music makes a special impression in its seven minutes. It's the result of an intriguing collaboration with John Cage. Each composer provided music for two of the four players, based on a kind of temporal template, and the resulting work came together seamlessly. Chance, so important in Cage's music, had played its role perfectly. This piece nicely sums up mid-century American music: fresh and alive with many influences from around the world and from many time periods, as fun to listen to as I'm sure it is to play." Report Abuse
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