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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Line Studies - Gaburo / Basson Sonata - Cascarino - Etler / String Quartet - Lieberson


Romeo Cascarino

Line Studies - Gaburo
Bassoon Sonata - Cascarino
Bassoon Sonata - Etler
String Quartet - Lieberson
Modern American Music Series
Produced by Howard Scott and Thomas Z. Shepard
Cover Art: Mariska Karasz
Columbia Masterworks AMS 6421

Romeo Cascarino: Sonata for Bassoon and Piano
Sol Schoenbach, Bassoonist & Romeo Casarino, Pianist

Goddard Lieberson: String Quartet (1938)
The Galimir Quartet (Felix Galimir & Marvin Morgenstern, Violists; Samuel Rhodes, Violist, Charles Mc Cracken, Cellist)

Kenneth Gaburo: Line Studies
Walter Trampler, Violist, Julius Baker, Flutist; David Glazer, Clarinetist; Erwin L. Price, Trombonist

Alvin Etler: Sonata for Bassoon and Piano 
Sol Schoenbach, Bassoonist; Joseph Levine, Pianist

From the back cover: Romeo Cascarino was born in Philadelphia in 1922. From the ages of eight to eighteen he was self-taught in every facet of music. Then followed two years of study with Paul Nordoff and a summer with Aaron Copland. In 1945, while still in the Army, he won a prize in the George Gershwin Memorial Contest for his orchestra piece Spring Festival, and in 1948 he received a Guggenheim fellowship, which was renewed in 1949.

Mr. Cascarino's ballet Bambi was performed in 1952 by the Chalfin Dance Group and The Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Alexander Hilsberg. Another ballet, Pygmalion, was given its world premiere, in a concert version, by the Royal Philharmonic of London under the direction of Ferdinand Live. This work has since  been recorded by the Norddeutsches Radio Orchestra and staged by the Philadelphia Civic Ballet in 1959. In 1960 the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra commissioned and performed an orchestral work, The Arcadian Land, Alexander Hilsberg conducting. At present the composer is working on the orchestra of his three-act Opera Cross and Crown.

Mr. Cascarino is head of the department of composition of Combs College of Music and was given an honorary Doctorate by that college in 1960. In addition to his activities as composer and teacher, he has done orchestral transcriptions and arrangements for many record companies. His published works include the Basoon Sonata recorded here (Arrow Music Press). Blades of Grass for English horn, strings  and harp (Lyra Music Edition), and Fanfare and March for symphonic band (Theodore Presser Co.).

The Bassoon Sonata had its inception while Mr. Cascarino was in the Army in 1942. There he met fellow soldier, Sol Schoenbach, the bassoonist virtuoso who was later to become first bassoonist with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Schoenbach asked him to write a short piece for piano and bassoon but also its lovely "singing" quality. The composer made sketches for the sonata while in the army but finished it in 1947, after his discharge. In writing the music, he remarks. "I had no intention of conveying a story or describing a scene. My only aim was to evoke a pastoral mood."

Goddard Lieberson was born in Hanley, Stafforshire, England in 1911 and has been a resident of the United States since 1915. He studied with George McKay at the University of Washington in Seattle, later receiving a scholarship to The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he studied with Bernard Rogers. He earned pocket money by reviewing concerts for a Rochester newspaper, often writing a full Sunday page and contributing caricatures as well – all for the munificent sum of ten dollars a week. In 1936 he settled in New York and became a contributing editor to The International Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians. Three years later he joined Columbia Records as a musical director, then became director of Columbia's Masterworks and Educational Departments; later he was appointed Executive Lieberson has exercised a vital influence on the music of our time. Himself a composer – the wide variety of twentieth century music in the Columbia catalog eloquently attests to this. And when the definitive history of the American Musical Theater comes to be written. Goddard Lieberson's name will figure prominently. From their first sketchy piano run-throughs to the final out-of-town openings, such classical musicals as South Pacific, My Fair Lady and West Side Story have been watched over and encouraged by him, and he personally supervises Columbia's original cast recordings.

Mr. Lieberson has had little time to devote to compositions since assuming the crowded schedule of a recording executive. But in his early and mid-twenties he produced a considerable list of compositions, including incidental music for Alice In Wonderland (1936); Yellow Poodle, ballet in two acts (1937); Five Modern Painters, orchestral suite (1929); Two Chassidic Dancers (1929); Tango for Piano and Orchestra (1937); Symphony (1937); Three Chinese Poems, for mixed voices a cappella (1936). Suite for twenty instruments (1928); Complaints of the Young (1932) and Nine Melodies (1933), both for piano; and a number of songs to texts by Ezra Pound, James Joyce and others. He has also written articles for New York newspaper, contributed to music journals and encyclopedias, and published a novel, Three for Bedroom C.

The String Quartet was composed in 1938 and is dedicated to Dimitri Mitropoulos. It is in three movements, Allegro, Allegro vivace and Adagio. The incisive thrust and tart harmony of the opening Allegro are occasionally relieved by a more lyric vein. The second movement, a new application of the classic scherzo pattern, in brief, lithe and witty. The slow finale is an atmospheric, somber piece in song form; its main motif, a nostalgic three-note figure, returns with increased eloquence after a middle section containing some agitated violin harmonics.

If this quartet William Schuman has written, "Goddard Lieberson's great success as an executive in the field of music can easily obscure the fact that all his activities stem from his being a creative artist The release of his youthful string quartet is conclusive testimony to a technical mastery of composition skills and to the searching musical mind that has been applied over the years to so many facets of art and with such notable results."

Kenneth Gaburo was born in Raritan New Jersey in 1926. He holds the degree M.M. form The Eastman School of Music. Mr. Gaburo has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards for his music, including the George Gershwin Memorial Award. The Sigma Alpha lot American Music Award, The Tanglewood Orchestra Award. During 1954-5 he held a Fulbright fellowship to Italy, where he studied composition with Goffredo Petrassi. His works in the fields of opera, orchestral, chamber, and solo music are frequently performed. Early in April his Elegy will be premiered with the New York Philharmonic under Bernstein. Last summer Mr. Gaburo held a University of Illinois grant to begin the composition of a Trilogy of One-Act Operas. He has frequently written for the theater, including the music for the 1957 Festival Play, Tiger Rag.

"Line Studies," he writes, "represents my most advanced conception of tone row compositional procedure to date. Essentially the twelve-tone series is imagined as a linear body of interdependent factors; a single series of tones, each of which occupies a fixed unalterable position in the sequence.

"Flexibility and variety is achieved through emphasis of tones as they follow series sequence or through spatial arrangements of the fixed series, rather than through the more traditional re-arrangement of this series itself. The formal and structural elements are determined by systematic transposition of the series.

"Each title reflects an essential technique used to create a particular type of line out of a single series of fixed tones. They may be basically defined as follows: (1) Projection, (the initial primitive series as a single line); (2) Displacement, (spatial arrangement of fixed series); (4) Density, (lines with harmonic emphasis); (5) Expansion, (the series as a simultaneous definition of the total space offered by the instruments). "Line Studies is scored for flute, clarinet, viola and trombone.

Alvin Etler. Midwesterner by birth and New Englander by adoption, spent the earlier years of his creative life pursuing the dual aim which he considers an absolute prerequisite to creative power; dependable technical control on the one hand and direct communicative approach on the other. More recently he as felt free to wrestle positively with his concept of one of music's crying needs in our time: the integration of recent aesthetic and inventive attitudes into the mainstream of musical practice.

An oboist himself, a large portion of his output makes one of woodwind media. There are a number of works for winds with other instruments, in addition to two woodwind quintets, a concerto for violins with wind quintet, and a concerto for wind quintet and orchestra.

A recipient of some of the usual grants and commissions, his career embraces performing and teaching as well as composing. He is presently a member of the music faculty at Smith College. 

The Sonata for Bassoon and Piano was composed in 1951. It is the first in a projected series of sonatas for all the instruments. Others have followed sporadically: Clarinet (1952), Oboe (1952), Cello (1956) and Viola (1959). All are with piano except the last, which employs the harpsichord.

Alvin Etler has described the Bassoon Sonata as follows:

"Though the work has a few potentially anxious moments for the performers, it is not intended for virtuoso display. It aims quite simply at player-listener enjoyment. The special qualities of the various registers of the bassoon are exploited to the full, as is the considerable expressive range of the instruments. Considerations of balance have influenced the style of piano writing, which is kept reasonably light. Melodic directness and simplicity are the touchstones, while stylistic novelty is secondary.

"The first of the four movements is a free fantasia emphasizing the interplay of extended melodic tones. The second is a sonata in which the piano first expounds the principal material. The third movement is marked by lyricism projected by the bassoon, while the finale plays with recurring theme.

"The literature for the bassoon is not extensive, and it is a source of satisfaction to me most bassoonists whom I met welcome this addition."

Romeo Cascarino 
Sonata For Bassoon And Piano
I.   Allegretto Moderato
II.  Andante Cantabile 
III. Allegretto Giocoso

Goddard Lieberson 
String Quartet (1938)
I.   Allegro
II.  AllegroVivace
III. Adagio

Kenneth Gaburo 
Line Studies

Alvin Etler
Sonata For Bassoon And Piano
I.   Moderately Slow
II.  Fast
III. Slow
IV. Fast

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