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Schiffman / Lifchitz / South Chamber Orch
Release Date: 06/26/2012 
Label:  North/South Recordings   Catalog #: 1057   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Harold SchiffmanSteven StrunkMarilyn J. ZiffrinMax Lifchitz,   ... 
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 53 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

CONCERTANTE: Music for Chamber Orchestra by American Composers Max Lifschitz, cond; North/South CO NORTH/SOUTH RECORDINGS 1057 (51:12)

SCHIFFMAN Serenata Concertante. STRUNK References. ZIFFRIN Ten. LIFCHITZ Yellow Ribbons No. 42. R. MARTIN Read more class="ARIAL12bi">They Will Take My Island

All of these pieces were premiered between 2006 and 2009. They form an interesting sample of the music that is beginning to emerge in a unique 21st-century style.

Harold Schiffman was born in North Carolina in 1928. He studied with Roger Sessions in California in the 1940s; he also credits Ernst von Dohnányi as a mentor. He wrote his Serenata Concertante in 2009, and it has more of a lyrical flair than many of his 20th-century compositions. In this work for wind quintet and string quartet, he knew he was writing for a group of most able musicians, so he gave them a piece that would show off their virtuosity. In doing that, he used many of the tonal colors of his large palette and the various movements of the piece are easily accessible.

Steven Strunk (1943–2012) was a composition professor at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He wrote a series of important articles in which he applied the structural and analytical concepts of classical-music theory to American jazz and other forms of American music. References is a short work that makes excellent use of a jazzy bass in combination with various wind instruments riding on a pillow of strings.

A native of Illinois, Marilyn J. Ziffrin studied with Alexander Tcherepnin, who encouraged her to go to the MacDowell Colony, which she did in 1961. It was then that she finally felt that she had come into her own as a composer. One of Ziffrin’s most renowned composition students was Augusta Read Thomas, who studied with her at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. Ziffrin’s own music shows the influences of Bartók, Stravinsky, Bach, the synagogue, jazz, and the Broadway stage. She wrote Ten for a combination of five winds and five strings while she was in the Southwest during the winter of 2009. It’s tonal and uplifting, even jazzy at times. Her music is propulsive but smooth, with an occasional stroke of beauty, a little like a patch of wild poppies seen in the desert a week after rain has fallen.

Mexican composer and conductor Max Lifchitz came to study at the Juilliard School in New York City in 1966. He went on to Harvard University, where his mentors were Luciano Berio, Bruno Maderna, and Darius Milhaud. His Yellow Ribbons pieces pay homage to the Americans who were held hostage in Iran many years ago. Lifchitz uses these pieces as a way of celebrating the artistic and political freedom that we so often take for granted in the United States. He uses themes from different cultures and various eras. One of them is the early 17th-century Peruvian hymn written in the Quechuan language, Hanacpachap Cussicuinin (O Tree-Bearing, Thrice Blessed Fruit). Lifchitz makes a powerful piece with accessible but occasionally challenging sections that remind us that freedom comes at a cost.

Robert Martin has composed music since he was a child, but for some years he worked as an investment banker and only played music in his spare time. Currently, he is a full-time composer, however. He wrote They Will Take My Island during the spring of 2009, basing the concept of the work on the 1944 painting of the same name by Arshile Gorky.

Max Lifchitz leads the North/South Chamber Orchestra in performances of clearly focused tone and graceful presentation. Since he is a composer himself, Lifchitz is a most knowledgeable conductor of contemporary music. North/South Consonance always gives us good sonics, and this disc is no exception.

FANFARE: Maria Nockin
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Works on This Recording

Serenata Concertante, for chamber orchestra by Harold Schiffman
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2009 
Venue:  Recital Hall, Purchase Performing Arts C 
Length: 10 Minutes 33 Secs. 
References, for chamber orchestra by Steven Strunk
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2008 
Venue:  Recital Hall, Purchase Performing Arts C 
Length: 9 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Ten, for chamber orchestra by Marilyn J. Ziffrin
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2009 
Venue:  Recital Hall, Purchase Performing Arts C 
Length: 6 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Yellow Ribbons No. 42, for chamber orchestra by Max Lifchitz
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2006 
Venue:  Recital Hall, Purchase Performing Arts C 
Length: 11 Minutes 15 Secs. 
They Will Take My Island, for chamber orchestra by Robert Martin
Conductor:  Max Lifchitz
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2009 
Venue:  Recital Hall, Purchase Performing Arts C 
Length: 13 Minutes 11 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Serenata Concertante: I. Andante
Serenata Concertante: II. Largo
Serenata Concertante: III. Omaggio I: Allegro Scherzoso
Serenata Concertante: IV. Omaggio II: Andante e gioioso
Ten: I. Leisurely
Ten: II. Slowly, with feeling
Ten: III. Allegro
Yellow Ribbons No. 42
They Will Take My Island

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