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Transience - Music By Joel Feigin / Cohen, Schadeberg, Et Al


Release Date: 05/01/1998 
Label:  North/South Recordings   Catalog #: 1011   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Joel Feigin
Performer:  Gretchen PuschWilliam TriggChristine SchadebergSara Laimon,   ... 
Conductor:  Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians' Accord
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

FEIGIN Five Ecstatic Poems of Kabir. 1 Veränderungen. Four Poems of Linda Pastan. 1 Four Fantasy Pieces. Four Poems of Wallace Stevens. 1 Nexus. First Tragedy. 1 Echoes from the Holocaust. Eight Japanese Poems. 1 Transience. Fred Cohen, cond; 1 Read more class="ARIAL12">Christine Schadeberg (sop); Musicians’ Accord NORTH/SOUTH 1011 (2 CDs: 126:42 Text and Translation)



This two-disc set of works from the Santa Barbara—based composer Joel Feigin dates from 1996, and contains chamber works from the previous 14 years. In the context of his new recording, Lament Amid Silence, this earlier collection deserves another look. Five of the works are vocal cycles with texts derived from a variety of sources, and feature the terrific soprano Christine Schadeberg, clearly an ideal match for Feigin’s intimate, engaging settings. The composer’s skill and imagination are on constant display in Five Ecstatic Poems of Kabir , with texts by the Sufi mystic dating from the 15th century. The first poem includes references to a flute, and Feigin obliges with glittering passagework from the instrument, and the rest of the ensemble contributes to a soundscape with more than a few impressionist references. The opening of flowers, a glowing moon, and a “rain bird” longing for the next shower are among the many potent images. Texts such as these nearly beg to be set to music, and Feigin’s close connection to the spoken word is ever apparent with each setting.


His musical language in Four Poems of Linda Pastan is quite different than the Kabir songs even while the instrumentation is similar. The settings are more angular, atonal, and include spoken passages. The effect is not unlike the expressionistic works from the Second Viennese School in the 1920s, and the text revels in themes of isolation and angst that call to mind that era. On a superficial level Four Poems of Wallace Stevens unfolds along similar stylistic lines, although the degree of fragmentation is more pronounced and instrumental interludes act as a binder between poems.


First Tragedy , the earliest work on the recording, also mixes speaking and singing, and according to the composer was his first piece to combine tonal and atonal writing. Sheldon Berkowitz’s clarinet telegraphs many changes in mood, by turns lyrical, brooding, and playful. Eight Japanese Poems for soprano and harp are steeped in Buddhist imagery and thought, including an opening incantation that could pass for a monk’s chants.


The purely instrumental works are no less engaging, and often are generated by traditional abstract methods rather than extra-musical inspiration. Veränderungen (Transformations) is essentially a theme and variations for violin and piano, though Feigin puts his individual mark on the venerated form. The nine variants cover a wide range of moods and textures, calling forth a remarkable level of virtuosity from the violinist Julie Rosenfeld and pianist Margaret Kampmeier. The composer’s skill at coaxing idiomatic playing from his performers is also evident in Four Fantasy Pieces , a suite of movements with traditional titles yet still glistening with modernist touches. Flutist Kathleen Nester and pianist Evelyne Luest give the work a vivid, characterful reading. Nester is equally enthralling in Nexus , an homage to Bach and the lightest, most cheerful piece on the recording. Feigin’s souful Echoes from the Holocaust comes from a different world entirely, and oboist Matt Sullivan, violist Martha Mooke, and pianist Sara Laimon give expressive, dramatic performances. Sullivan shows a much more playful side of the oboe in Transience , joined by the superb percussionist William Trigg.


This collection of works is a must-have for anyone who cares about music of our time. Given the consistently high quality of Feigin’s compositions, it’s no wonder he has been able to assemble such a high-octane roster of world-class performers.


FANFARE: Michael Cameron
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Works on This Recording

1. Ecstatic Poems (5) of Kabir by Joel Feigin
Performer:  Gretchen Pusch (Flute), William Trigg (Percussion), Christine Schadeberg (Soprano),
Sara Laimon (Piano), Tim Smith (Bass Clarinet)
Conductor:  Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians' Accord
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989/1995; USA 
Length: 18 Minutes 21 Secs. 
2. Veränderungen by Joel Feigin
Performer:  Julie Rosenfeld (Violin), Margaret Kampmeier (Piano)
Conductor:  Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians' Accord
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1995; USA 
Length: 15 Minutes 11 Secs. 
3. Poems (4) of Linda Pastan by Joel Feigin
Performer:  Christine Schadeberg (Soprano), Sara Laimon (Piano), Charles Tomlinson (Double Bass),
William Trigg (Percussion), Martha Mooke (Viola), Kathleen Nester (Flute)
Conductor:  Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians' Accord
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; USA 
Length: 14 Minutes 9 Secs. 
4. Fantasy Pieces (4) by Joel Feigin
Performer:  Evelyne Luest (Piano), Kathleen Nester (Flute)
Conductor:  Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians' Accord
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; USA 
Length: 9 Minutes 30 Secs. 
5. Poems (4) of Wallace Stevens by Joel Feigin
Performer:  William Trigg (Percussion), Felix Wurman (Cello), Kathleen Nester (Flute),
Christine Schadeberg (Soprano), Evelyne Luest (Piano)
Conductor:  Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians' Accord
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985/1996; USA 
Length: 11 Minutes 46 Secs. 
6. Nexus by Joel Feigin
Performer:  Sara Laimon (Piano), Kathleen Nester (Flute)
Conductor:  Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians' Accord
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993; USA 
Length: 10 Minutes 44 Secs. 
7. First Tragedy by Joel Feigin
Performer:  Christine Schadeberg (Soprano), Margaret Kampmeier (Piano), Sheldon Berkowitz (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians' Accord
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982/1992; USA 
Length: 10 Minutes 45 Secs. 
8. Echoes from the Holocaust by Joel Feigin
Performer:  Matthew Sullivan (Oboe), Martha Mooke (Viola), Sara Laimon (Piano)
Conductor:  Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians' Accord
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993; USA 
Length: 17 Minutes 57 Secs. 
9. Japanese Poems (8) by Joel Feigin
Performer:  Christine Schadeberg (Soprano), Susan Jolles (Harp)
Conductor:  Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians' Accord
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983; USA 
Length: 7 Minutes 1 Secs. 
10. Transience by Joel Feigin
Performer:  William Trigg (Percussion), Matthew Sullivan (Oboe)
Conductor:  Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians' Accord
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994; USA 
Length: 10 Minutes 3 Secs. 

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