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Richard Wilson: Chamber Music / Schulte, Shao, Et Al


Release Date: 07/26/2005 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 773   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Wilson
Performer:  Rolf SchulteSophie ShaoRichard WilsonAllen Blustine
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Richard Wilson belongs to the tail end of a generation of American composers trained in serialist-dominated academia. His music sits on the cusp of that world and the less doctrinaire world to follow, with positive qualities drawn from both sides. For all of the attendant elitism of the old academia, it did endow students with a level of discipline and attention to craft that is less emphatic these days. Wilson’s music is always notable for precision and neat structure, qualities that are not always obvious, but form an almost invisible basis from which any other device can grow.

The large scale and classically paced Piano Trio conveys a restless, spiky character, even in the quieter moments, which are energized by
Read more chromaticism. This 2002 composition shares something of that vigor with the Figuration for clarinet, cello, and piano, written over 20 years prior, but Wilson sounds more inspired by his choice of color and tonal blending in the earlier work, as well as the freedom of expression that the looser form allows. That sense is even more pronounced in the two works here for solo instruments. Diablerie, for solo violin, plays on the well-trod myth of the violin as the devil’s instrument. The dedicatee, Rolf Shulte, has great fun with this flamboyant showpiece. Lord Chesterfield to his Son, for solo cello, is the composer’s gift to his seven-year-old son as the boy began cello lessons in 1987. The movements are based on the admonitions delivered by Lord Chesterfield to his own son in the 18th century (they are worth repeating; “talk often but never long; be exact, clear and perspicuous; beware of digressions; mimicry is the lowest and most illiberal of all buffoonery; be silent upon your own subject; be seen to smile but never be seen to laugh; take care never to seem dark and mysterious.”) Wilson is, in the manner of the good Lord Chesterfield himself, a bit pompous in his musical declarations, but convincingly heartfelt and eloquent. The works for violin and piano and cello and piano fall somewhere in between Wilson’s freer and more formal styles, both displaying a Bartók-like acuity of expression.

Wilson’s cause is furthered immensely by the superb New York freelancers featured on this program. New music owes an immeasurable debt to these phenomenally gifted and generous artists, as any composer will tell you, including, I am sure, Richard Wilson.

Peter Burwasser, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Diablerie by Richard Wilson
Performer:  Rolf Schulte (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2004; USA 
2.
Lord Chesterfield to His Son by Richard Wilson
Performer:  Sophie Shao (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; USA 
3.
Interludes (3) for Violin and Piano by Richard Wilson
Performer:  Richard Wilson (Piano), Rolf Schulte (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996; USA 
4.
Trio for Strings by Richard Wilson
Performer:  Rolf Schulte (Violin), Richard Wilson (Piano), Sophie Shao (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2002; USA 
5.
Figuration by Richard Wilson
Performer:  Sophie Shao (Cello), Allen Blustine (Clarinet), Richard Wilson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; USA 

Sound Samples

Diablerie
Piano Trio: I. Energico
Piano Trio: II. Reverie
Piano Trio: III. Scherzo
Piano Trio: IV. Theme and Variations
Lord Chesterfield to his Son: I. Talk often, but never long
Lord Chesterfield to his Son: II. Be exact, clear and perspicuous
Lord Chesterfield to his Son: III. Beware of digressions
Lord Chesterfield to his Son: IV. Mimickry is the lowest and most illiberal of all buffoonery
Lord Chesterfield to his Son: V. Be silent upon your own subject
Lord Chesterfield to his Son: VI. Be seen to smile, but never heard to laugh
Lord Chesterfield to his Son: VII. Take care never to seem dark and mysterious
3 Interludes for Violin and Piano: Interlude No. 1
3 Interludes for Violin and Piano: Interlude No. 2
3 Interludes for Violin and Piano: Interlude No. 3
Figuration
Motivations: I. -
Motivations: II. -
Motivations: III. -

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