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Celebrations - Music By Andrew Rudin

Release Date: 05/24/2011 
Label:  Centaur Records   Catalog #: 3119  
Composer:  Andrew RubinAndrew Rudin
Performer:  Marcantonio BaroneJames FreemanAnthony OrlandoBrett Deubner
Conductor:  James Freeman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra 2001
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

RUDIN Piano Concerto. 1,4,6 Viola Concerto 1,3,6. Celebrations 2,4,5 James Freeman 1 (cond); 2 pn; 3 Brett Deubner (vla); 4 Marcantonio Barone (pn); 5 Anthony Orlando Read more (perc); 6 Orchestra 2001 CENTAUR CRC3119 (78:19)

The present CD provides us with a good portrait of the acoustic music of Andrew Rudin (pronounced Roo-DEEN), which, judging by the dates of these works (2007–09), seems to be the thrust of his recent activity, compositionally speaking. Each of the three works presented here must be described as a major work, not only in terms of length but in significance to the literature to the instruments involved. The Piano Concerto received its premiere at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., by the soloist heard in this recording. It is cast in the traditional three movements in the usual fast-slow-fast ordering. The opening movement is declamatory and episodic, drawing from a rich palette of effects and colors. Movement 2 is said to pay homage to the slow movement of Ravel’s G-Major Piano Concerto, but is much less jazz-influenced than is that movement. I hear the influence of Berg (in his quieter moments) in this movement as much as anyone, although the outer movements owe more to the astringent writing of Rochberg (in his 12-tone period) and Sessions. The third movement is based upon ostinati generated by incessantly repeated sonorities, over and under which the piano and orchestra contribute melodic lines and figuration. It all works very well, and the piece makes a considerable impact, aided by the stellar playing of Marcantonio Barone and his colleagues.

Rudin’s Viola Concerto begins with a movement that is a finely focused study rife with neo-Bartókian overtones, and full of rhythmic drive and energy. Its lyrical second theme is a cousin to that in the Second Violin Concerto of the Hungarian master, to whom Rudin readily gives credit for inspiration in his works (even to the point of briefly quoting his Second Piano Concerto in his own Piano Concerto). Rudin uses far more pointillism in his writing than Bartók does, and quite different harmonic language and orchestration techniques. The resemblances in their music may be familial, but it is no closer than cousins. The gorgeous second movement of this concerto is probably my favorite on the CD. The pointillism here in the lines of the orchestral accompaniment is ethereal and otherworldly, setting a most effective backdrop for the plaintive line in the solo viola. The viola part is unquestionably demanding, but Brett Deubner meets every musical and technical challenge most admirably. The concerto is an important addition to the none-too-large repertoire for this instrument (although it is larger than you think).

The name of Bartók will also certainly come to mind when one encounters a work for two pianos and percussion, although Rudin uses only one percussionist, rather than the two that Bartók used in his sonata . Celebrations was written in tribute to two musicians who were influential to Rudin’s career. The first movement, rather solemn in its effect, pays homage to George Crumb on his 80th birthday. The more exuberant second movement is dedicated to James Freeman, the founder and conductor of Orchestra 2001 (the orchestra was actually founded in 1988). Freeman joins colleague Barone as one of the pianists in the work, which, in conjunction with percussionist Anthony Orlando, they perform in most exemplary fashion.

This is a wonderful CD on every level, and I can highly recommend it to every enthusiast of contemporary music. Don’t let this one go out of print on you before you get your copy!

FANFARE: David DeBoor Canfield
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano by Andrew Rudin
Performer:  Marcantonio Barone (Piano)
Conductor:  James Freeman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra 2001
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
Celebrations by Andrew Rudin
Performer:  James Freeman (Piano), Anthony Orlando (Percussion), Marcantonio Barone (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
Concerto for Viola by Andrew Rudin
Performer:  Anthony Orlando (Percussion), Brett Deubner (Viola)
Conductor:  James Freeman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra 2001
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 

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