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Lieberson: Raising The Gaze / Oliver Knussen, London Sinfonietta


Release Date: 02/12/2002 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 457606   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Peter Lieberson
Performer:  Rosemary Hardy
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland OrchestraASKO EnsembleLondon Sinfonietta
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

In the liner notes Peter Lieberson calls this program a "snapshot autobiography" of his "...musical life from 1972 to 1998." In reality this is no mere series of photographs but rather is an excellently framed, severely flattering portrait that always shows the composer's best side. The range of pieces on this disc--from the complex, emotional Drala to the focused and powerful Fire--shows an artist coming to grips with his own language, going though phases, but always possessing a distinct musical voice. There really is no name for this sort of music: In years to come, this style, with its jagged-but-friendly non-tonality, severe rhythmic impulse, and almost cartoonish orchestration will be considered a school of Read more thought, with appropriate "-ism" attached. For now, even in its unclassified state, Lieberson's music remains exciting and very listenable, whether or not "atonal" is your bag.

There are pieces on the disc where you can hear the composer working out some stylistic ideas he would later reject, such as the blunt pointillism of Concerto for Four Groups of Instruments, the earliest--and least convincing--work represented. But it is nice to watch Lieberson shed his academic skin for music favored more by dramatic narrative, such as the gutsy Ziji or the spry (and almost comic) Raising the Gaze. Lieberson knows how to make a balanced piece, one that gracefully mediates between tenderness and brutality.

Oliver Knussen is a major musician, one of the greatest we have, and he's the perfect interpreter for this sort of music, taking seriously each of Lieberson's carefully chosen notes. The range of emotion he draws out of the various ensembles is spectacular, and he affords clarity to the music's ever-changing face--the quiet stillness of Drala's third movement gives way to the harsh, menacing chaos of the fourth with elegance and terror, yet never losing focus. The Cleveland Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, and Asko Ensemble are all willing to go into the dark places Knussen takes them, which makes these readings compelling and musically solid. The sound quality is ideal, capturing nuance in slow sections and maintaining balance and clarity in louder, brasher parts.

--Daniel Felsenfeld, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Drala by Peter Lieberson
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/1995 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 17 Minutes 29 Secs. 
2. Concerto for Four Groups of Instruments by Peter Lieberson
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ASKO Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972-1973; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 8 Minutes 10 Secs. 
3. Accordance by Peter Lieberson
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ASKO Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975-1976; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1994 
Venue:  Live  Dr. Anton Philips Hall, The Hague 
Length: 10 Minutes 23 Secs. 
4. Songs (3) by Peter Lieberson
Performer:  Rosemary Hardy (Soprano)
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ASKO Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1981; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 5 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: English 
5. Ziji by Peter Lieberson
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ASKO Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 8 Minutes 22 Secs. 
6. Raising the Gaze by Peter Lieberson
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ASKO Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1994 
Venue:  Live  Dr. Anton Philips Hall, The Hague 
Length: 6 Minutes 6 Secs. 
7. Fire by Peter Lieberson
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1995; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/1996 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 4 Minutes 3 Secs. 
8. Free and Easy Wanderer by Peter Lieberson
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1998; USA 
Date of Recording: 08/1998 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, London, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 27 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Drala for orchestra (1986): Invocation
Drala for orchestra (1986): 1. Gathering
Drala for orchestra (1986): 2. Offerings and Praises
Drala for orchestra (1986): 3. Raising Windhorses
Concerto for four groups of instruments (1972/73)
Accordance for eight instruments (1975/76)
Three Songs for soprano and orchestra (1981): 1. Listen and Hear
Three Songs for soprano and orchestra (1981): 2. The Palm and its Lines"
Three Songs for soprano and orchestra (1981): 3. The reed is broken
Ziji for clarinet, horn, string trio and piano (1987)
Raising the Gaze for seven instruments (1988)
Fire for large orchestra (1994/95)
Free and Easy Wanderer for chamber orchestra (1998)

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