Charles Tomlinson Griffes

Biography

Born: September 17, 1884; Elmira, NY   Died: April 8, 1920; New York, NY  
Charles Tomlinson Griffes was among the most distinctive and poetic of American composers. In the 15 years of his artistic maturity, his style evolved from German-derived post-Romanticism to a particularly personal adaptation of French Impressionism, and finally to a strong and individual style of his own. Most commentators regard his as the greatest talent of his generation.

His older sister, Katharine, started giving him piano lessons
Read more when he was young, passing on what she learned from her own teacher, Mary Selina Broughton. When the boy was 15, he started studying directly with Broughton, who was on the faculty of Elmira Free Academy. She also taught him "taste" and "gentility," and persuaded his parents that he had such talent that he should be encouraged to become a musician. She even subsidized his travel to Berlin, where he studied piano with Ernst Jedliczka and Gottfried Galston at the Stern'sche Conservatory; his counterpoint instructors were Max Lowengard and Wilhelm Klatte, and his composition professors were Philippe Rüfer and Engelbert Humperdinck. Griffes appeared at a Conservatory concert as a piano soloist in 1904, to high acclaim; but by then his interests had turned toward composition, somewhat to Broughton's disappointment. He left the Conservatory to study privately and intensively with Humperdinck, and continued in piano with Galston. He made some money by taking in pupils in piano and harmony, and by giving some concerts.

During his German period, he wrote German-language songs and a Symphonische Phantasie. He returned to the United States in September, 1907, accepting a job at the Hackley School of Tarrytown, New York, where he remained until his death in 1920 (of pneumonia, perhaps due to the 1919-1920 influenza epidemic).

Since he died young, and because the position was a relatively minor one within the world of music, biographical information has been romanticized over the years, suggesting that Griffes was trapped in a menial job, living in poverty. In fact, he found the job interesting and was much liked by fellow faculty members and students -- he was certainly not starving. Furthermore, the job included a lengthy summer period during which he could devote himself entirely to composition and promote his works in nearby New York.

During his own lifetime, piano works such as the Roman Sketches appeared and were appreciated for their poetic and descriptive beauty. The tone poem The Pleasure Dome of Kublai Khan, the Japanese ballet Sho-jo, Five Poems of Ancient China and Japan, and a major chamber ballet, The Kairn of Koridwen, all received major premieres, drawing attention to Griffes as a composer possessed of a unique voice, exceptional craftsmanship, and melodic inventiveness. His later pieces, such as the Notturno for Orchestra (1918) and the Piano Sonata are most illustrative of his mature voice; in these works, the influences of his German and French models are completely assimilated into his own harmonically adventurous palate. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 93 Available Recordings
1 2 3 4
  • 1.
    The Piano in America / Dubal, Waldoff
    Label: Arkiv   Catalog: 70002 Release Date: 06/24/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Brown,  James Hewitt,  Louis Moreau Gottschalk,  Richard Hoffman  ... 
    Performer:  David Dubal,  Stanley Waldoff
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 2.
    Night Stories - Nocturnes / Jenny Lin
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98037 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Alexander Glazunov  ... 
    Performer:  Jenny Lin
    On sale! $18.99
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    On sale!   $18.99   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 3.
    Night Soliloquy
    Label: Azica   Catalog: 71291 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lili Boulanger,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Samuel Barber,  Rhené-Baton  ... 
    Performer:  Diane Snodgrass,  Lori Bell,  Tamir Hendelman
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 4.
    America! From Modern To Pop Art
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908543 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Aaron Copland,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Beus,  Spencer Myer,  Jon Manasse,  Jon Nakamatsu  ... 
    Conductor:  Craig Hella-Johnson,  Paul Hillier
    CD: $14.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 5.
    Panorama Of American Piano Music / Yvar Mikhashoff
    Label: Mode   Catalog: 262 Release Date: 12/03/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Leo Ornstein,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Percy Aldridge Grainger,  Aaron Copland  ... 
    Performer:  Yvar Mikhashoff
    CD: $52.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $52.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $39.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 6.
    The American Album / Cypress String Quartet
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2304 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Kevin Puts,  Samuel Barber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cypress String Quartet
    On sale! $17.98
    CD: $15.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $17.98   CD:  $15.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 7.
    Nielsen, Griffes, Martin, Ibert: Flute Concertos
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 725 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Frank Martin,  Jacques Ibert
    Performer:  Thomas Jensen
    Conductor:  Giordano Bellincampi
    On sale! $22.98
    SuperAudio CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $22.98   SuperAudio CD:  $18.99 Add to Cart

  • 8.
    Boesendorfer Sound / Carol Rosenberger
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3460 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard R. Bennett,  Franz Liszt,  Enrique Granados,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 9.
    Stopping By / Kyle Bielfield
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3445 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Amy Marcy Beach,  Samuel Barber,  Ned Rorem,  John Woods Duke  ... 
    Performer:  Kyle Bielfield,  Lachlan Glen,  Michael Samis
    Recommendation
    On sale!
    CD: $15.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    On sale!     CD:  $15.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 10.
    Great Works for Flute & Orchestra / Sharon Bezaly
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1679 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Carl Reinecke,  Cécile Louise Chaminade  ... 
    Performer:  Sharon Bezaly
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hague Residentie Orchestra
    Recommendation
    SuperAudio CD: $21.49
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    SuperAudio CD:  $21.49 Add to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 11.
    The Impressionists / Mary Towse-Beck
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5638131362 Release Date: 08/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Mary Towse-beck
    Recommendation
    CD: $15.99
    Special Order
    CD:  $15.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 12.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001831802 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Anton Webern,  Alban Berg,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Helga Pilarczyk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mihaly Székely,  Olga Szönyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $175.49
    In Stock
    CD:  $175.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 13.
    Griffes: Piano Music / Garrick Ohlsson
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67907 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Tomlinson Griffes
    Performer:  Garrick Ohlsson
    Recommendation
    On sale! $21.98
    CD: $19.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $21.98   CD:  $19.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 14.
    40 Tracks for 40 Years - Delos Anniversary Set
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3440 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Antonín Dvorák,  Aram Khachaturian,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold  ... 
    Performer:  James Earl Jones,  Charles Butler,  Marina Domashenko,  Dmitri Hvorostovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton,  Zdenek Macal,  Constantine Orbelian,  James DePreist  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  New Jersey Symphony Orchestra,  Moscow Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    On sale!
    CD: $15.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    On sale!     CD:  $15.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $29.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 15.
    American Classics
    Label: Twopianists (Label)   Catalog: 152 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ben Weber,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Samuel Barber,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Lori Sims
    Recommendation
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 16.
    20th Century Masterpieces, Vol. 2 / Votapek
    Label: Blue Griffin   Catalog: 263 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Maurice Ravel,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Nikolai Kapustin
    Performer:  Ralph Votapek
    On sale! $22.98
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $22.98   CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 17.
    Impressions
    Label: Honens   Catalog: 200302 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Florent Schmitt,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Karol Szymanowski  ... 
    Performer:  Winston Choi
    CD: $14.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 18.
    Nocturnes / Michael Landrum
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 92158 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Field,  Frédéric Chopin,  Ottorino Respighi,  Alexander Scriabin  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Landrum
    Recommendation
    CD: $24.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $24.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $19.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 19.
    Taylor: Through The Looking Glass; Griffes: Poeme, Pleasure Dome Of Kubla Khan / Schwarz, Seattle Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559724 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Deems Taylor,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes
    Performer:  Victoria Bogdashevskaya,  David Taylor,  Glen Danielson,  Christopher Sereque  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $9.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $9.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $7.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 20.
    The Very Best Of Thomas Hampson
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94807 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Charles Gounod,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Martine Mahé,  Marc Barrard,  Placido [Tenor Vocals] Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington,  Michel Plasson,  Eugene Kohn,  Antonio de Almeida  ... 
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 21.
    Griffes: Piano Music / Joseph Smith
    Label: Arkiv   Catalog: 70001 Release Date: 05/24/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Tomlinson Griffes
    Performer:  Joseph Smith
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
    In Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 22.
    The Pleasure-Dome Of Kubla Khan: Piano Works Of Griffes / Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2971 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Tomlinson Griffes
    Performer:  Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 23.
    Mozart To Gershwin
    Label: Aca Digital   Catalog: 20110 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Margery McDuffie Whatley,  Steven Hesla
    Recommendation
    On sale! $19.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $19.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 24.
    Piano Night Pieces
    Label: Music Agents   Catalog: 505 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Field,  Claude Debussy,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Micaela Gelius
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 25.
    The American Composers Series - Piano Music (1900-1945)
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 3027 Release Date: 05/27/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  William Schuman,  Roger Sessions,  Roy Harris  ... 
    Performer:  Roger Shields
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $29.99 Add MP3 to Cart

1 2 3 4