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Rorem: Winter Pages, Bright Music


Release Date: 12/08/1992 
Label:  New World Records   Catalog #: 80416   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ned Rorem
Performer:  Charles WadsworthIda KavafianTodd PalmerFred Sherry,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 51 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The message of this release is that Ned Rorem—70 next year, if you can believe it—was on excellent form in his chamber music during the 1980s. These two works develop the tradition of mixed-instrument combinations based on Pierrot Lunaire or, on the French side which Rorem infinitely prefers, Messiaen's Quatuor pour la fin du temps where not all the instruments contribute to every movement but things hang together all the same. A more marked influence on Rorem is Poulenc. And why not? The skill of his witty style modulations is only now being recognized, as is his enchanting ability to indulge. Rorem has this quality too. He says: ''My non-vocal works are songs without texts''. Like Poulenc he also has the song-writer's knack of summing up Read more a situation in a few strokes—so much more rewarding on this scale than in Rorem's prolix Violin Concerto, now available on record (DG, 1/92).

The first piece, Winter pages (1981) for clarinet, bassoon, violin, cello and piano, draws on Rorem's past and, as readers of his diaries will know, there should be plenty of stimulus there. It is not just nostalgia but a well-balanced piece ranging from lyrical gems to virtuoso demonstrations. Rorem is naturally at his most Poulencian in ''Paris then''; ''Rue des Saints-Peres''; and finally ''Still Life''. Even if the gesture is familiar, Rorem brings his lyrical moments into play so skilfully that we accept him on his own terms. The fast movements sparkle. Unlike some composers of the so-called new tonality he has not forgotten how to use diatonic harmony.

Bright music (1987), for flute, two violins, cello and piano, is exactly what its name implies. The ''Fandango'' is eccentric in a way that only Rorem could have imagined—it is intended, of all things, to evoke ''a rat in an ashcan'', which it does with a crazy mazurka in the middle. The fourth movement, ''Another Dream'' shows Rorem as a true melodist somehow liberated when not tied to texts.

The performers respond well to grateful writing, but the recording is close enough to include breaths from the players, especially at the more demanding moments.'

-- Peter Dickinson, Gramophone [10/1992]
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Works on This Recording

1. Winter pages by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Charles Wadsworth (Piano), Ida Kavafian (Violin), Todd Palmer (Clarinet),
Fred Sherry (Cello), Frank Morelli (Bassoon)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/14/1991 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 29 Minutes 39 Secs. 
2. Bright music by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Andre-Michel Schub (Piano), Fred Sherry (Cello), Ani Kavafian (Violin),
Marya Martin (Flute), Ida Kavafian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1981; USA 
Date of Recording: 03/13/1989 
Venue:  American Academy and IAL Auditorium, NYC 
Length: 21 Minutes 0 Secs. 

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