CHAMBER SYMPHONIES 2, 3 & 4

Douglas Anderson

 

 

OVERVIEW

Since the robust development of the symphonic form in the 18th century, many composers, from Haydn, Beethoven, Mahler and Stravinsky, have written within the genre, creating engaging sonic worlds in and of themselves. Inspired by Arnold Schoenberg’s two chamber symphonies, American composer Douglas Anderson presents three of his chamber symphonies on his debut release on Ravello Records, which aim to envelope the listener in a varied and multifaceted musical environment all the while exploring the genre using the necessarily limited timbral and harmonic palette of a small ensemble.

 

Each of Anderson’s three-movement chamber symphonies was written for a particular ensemble, deriving pitch material from the characteristics of the instruments. Chamber Symphony No. 2 (1989) was written for Oval Window Chamber Ensemble and premiered in 1989 at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Written for flute, clarinet, violin and cello, this work incorporates elements and characteristics from a variety of composers, from Mozart and Josquin Des Prez to Shostakovich. Chamber Symphony No. 3 (2001), written for and premiered by Eight Strings & a Whistle, features a short cadenza between the movements for each of the instruments – flute, viola, and cello – providing momentum leading up to an intense climax. Anderson’s Chamber Symphony No. 4 (2011) was written for the di.vi.sion piano trio and uses two serial rows, which are made more and more complex through a series of variations. The composer magnifies the scope of the symphonic form, taking it out of its traditional context and restraining it to a smaller ensemble only to open up new realms in chamber music repertory.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

Douglas Anderson is a composer, conductor, educator, and producer who has been active in the New York area for more than 40 years. His compositions include chamber works, orchestral works, concerti, vocal music (including synthesized voice), electronic music, radio drama, jazz, film music, and opera

 

His music has been heard live and on radio around the world for decades, notably on Voice of America radio abroad, and nationally on NPR in three radio dramas broadcast on NPR's “The Radio Stage:” "Romance Concerto," "The Sound of Fear Clapping," and “The King of Jazz

 

In 1984 Anderson founded the American Chamber Opera Company, a professional company that performs new and old chamber operas in English, and has presented 65 productions, including 26 premieres

 

In 1973, he made his professional conducting debut at the Beacon Theater on Broadway, leading the Boston Ballet (with narrators Cyril Ritchard, Celeste Holm, and James Earl Jones) in a run of Peter and the Wolf

 

Eight Strings & a Whistle [performing Chamber Symphony No. 3] is committed to presenting works and expanding the repertoire for the unique combination of flute, viola and cello. In 2015, they released their debut album on Ravello Records, ALBERT’S WINDOW. They have performed at concert halls and venues including the Tenri Cultural Institute, the 2014 Queens New Music Festival, Spectrum, Merkin Concert Hall, and Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space in New York City

 

The New York-based ensemble di.vi.sion [performing Chamber Symphony No. 2 & 4] has presented works by contemporary composers Lalo Schfrin, Hilary Tann, Gwyneth Walker, Thad Wheeler, Frank Zappa and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

 

BIOGRAPHY

Douglas Anderson is a composer, conductor, educator, and producer who has been active in the New York area for more than 40 years. He studied music and psychology at Columbia University, where he received three degrees culminating in a doctorate in music composition in 1980. He began his professional career as a jazz musician at the age of 12, and performed widely in the Eastern United States before moving to New York to attend college.  He made his professional conducting debut at the Beacon Theater on Broadway, leading the Boston Ballet (with narrators Cyril Ritchard, Celeste Holm, and James Earl Jones) in a run of Peter and the Wolf (1973).

 

Anderson’s compositions include chamber works, orchestral works, concerti, vocal music (including synthesized voice), electronic music, radio drama, jazz, film, and opera.  His composing grew out of his improvisations as a jazz musician, and his desire to be able to edit and revise.  In 1991 his music was presented in a retrospective concert by the New Renaissance Chamber Artists, and his chamber opera Faust Triumphant was premiered in March 1995 at the International Faust Festival. In the summer of 2009 he was a guest composer at the Bar Harbor (Maine) Music Festival, where he spoke about his music.  In the summer of 2011 he was the featured composer on the Eight Strings & a Whistle website.  For the 2012-13 season he was the composer-in-residence for A Potpourri of Song in Brooklyn NY.

 

His music has been heard live and on radio around the world for decades, notably on Voice of America radio abroad, and nationally on NPR in three radio dramas broadcast on NPR’s The Radio Stage: Romance Concerto, The Sound of Fear Clapping, and The King of Jazz.  He wrote an Internet ‘opera of blood’ for SCIFI.com entitled The Moon Moth.  In addition to a large number of chamber works, his larger works include four operas (to librettos by Andrew Joffe):  Faust Triumphant (1995), Medea in Exile (2000), Through/In (2001), and Antigone Sings (2006); two dramatic song cycles: My Year, My Life (1996) and Cassandra Songs (2010); and two concertos: Ahai (1980) for violin and orchestra, and Spirit Guide (2013) for clarinet, soprano, and orchestra.

 

A conductor equally adept with theatrical, vocal, and instrumental music, Anderson has since his debut conducted a great variety of ensembles and over 75 premieres, including the first electronic music opera and the first concerto for steel drum and orchestra. His repertoire includes standard and modern operas, symphonic and choral music, as well as a wide range of unusual works from all eras. His operatic repertoire alone consists of over 100 complete operas conducted in over 400 performances. He is in regular demand as a guest conductor, and is the Conductor of the Downtown Symphony, the Director of The Putnam Chorale, and Conductor of the American Chamber Opera Company.

 

He is on the faculty of the Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY, where he is a Professor of Music and was for 14 years Chair of the Music and Art Department.

 

His conducting teachers included Neemi Järvi, Carl Bamberger, Richard Lert, Max Rudolf, and Howard Shanet. Composition teachers included Mario Davidovsky, Harvey Sollberger, Vladimir Ussachevsky, Chou Wen-chung, and Charles Wuorinen.

 

Further information on Anderson can be found on his website www.douglasandersonmusic.com, and his music can be purchased in printed versions at www.noxonpublications.com.

 

YouTube | Amazon | iTunes | Spotify

 

Release Date: January 8, 2016

Catalog #: RR7923

 

 

TRACK TITLES

Chamber Symphony No. 2

di.vi.sion | Margaret Swinchoski, flute;

Don Mokyrinski, clarinet; Kurt Briggs, violin; Matt Goeke, cello

1  Introduction - 1st movement - flute cadenza

2  2nd movement - violin cadenza

3  3rd movement - coda

 

Chamber Symphony No. 3

Eight Strings & a Whistle | Suzanne Gilchrest, flute; Ina Litera, viola;

Matt Goeke, cello

4  Introduction - 1st movement - flute cadenza

5  2nd movement - viola cadenza

6  3rd movement - coda

 

Chamber Symphony No. 4

di.vi.sion piano trio | Kurt Briggs, violin; Matt Goeke, cello;

Renee Cometa Briggs, piano

7  Introduction - 1st movement

8  2nd movement - trio summary and transition

9  3rd movement - coda

 

 

ALSO ON RAVELLO RECORDS

 

 

ALBERTS WINDOW

(RR7918)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

96 STRINGS AND 2 WHISTLES

(RR7940)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© RAVELLO RECORDS LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.

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