Chamber Music of James Yannatos



chamber music of


james yannatos




sonata for solo cello


martha babcock, cello




8 haiku for solo flute


doriot anthony dwyer, flute




variations for solo




edwin barker, contrabass




simultaneous contrasts:


suite for solo horn


eric ruske






James Yannatos


James Yannatos was born and educated in New York City, attending the High School of Music andArt and the Manhattan School of Music. Subsequent studies with Nadia Boulanger, Luigi Dallapiccola, Darius Milhaud, and Paul Hindemithin composition and Willian Steinberg and Leonard Bernstein in conducting took Yannatos to Yale University (B.M., M.M.), the University of Iowa (Ph.D.), Aspen, Tanglewood, and Paris.


He has been Music Director of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra since 1964, and has led that group on tours to Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Asia. In addition to having been the co-director of the New England Composers Orchestra, he has appeared as guest conductor-composer at the Aspen, Banff, Tanglewood, Chautauqua, and Saratoga Festivals, with the Boston Pops, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Baltimore, and San Antonio Symphonies and Sverdlovsk, Leningrad, Cleveland and American Symphony Chamber Orchestras.


Yannatos has received commissions for orchestral, vocal, and instrumental works and has written music for television. His most ambitious work, Trinity Mass (for soloists, chorus, and orchestra), was premiered in Boston and New York in 1986 and aired on National Public Radio. His works have been performed by the Leningrad Chamber Orchestra, the Florida West Coast Symphony, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, among others.


Yannatos' music has been recorded on the Albany Records label. He has published four volumes of Silly and Serious Songs, based on the words of children. He has received innumerable awards as a composer including the Artists Foundation Award of 1988 for his Trinity Mass (Albany Records TROY241).




Sonata for Solo Cello


Sonata for Solo Cello was written in 1978. It is a virtuoso piece in three contrasting movements. Each movement is based on two contrasting musical ideas and tempi.


Movement I (Cadenzi: Chants and Dances) juxtaposes various forms of the opening un-metered chant and various dance sequences. Their interplay results in a quasi rondo structure that culminates in a climax using “extra-musical” sounds.


Movement II (Recitivo and Arioso) contrasts short introductory episodic fragments with a longer, more continuous aria.


Movement III (Serenade: Scherzo and Toccata) contrasts a two part scherzo with a multi-part toccata substituting for the traditional trio. A truncated version of the Scherzo returns with a short coda derived form the toccata resulting in a large ABA structure.




Martha Babcock


Martha Babcock is principal cellist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and principal cellist of the Boston Pops Orchestra. She has been soloist with the Pops on many occasions, collaborating with Pops conductors Keith Lockhart, John Williams, and Erich Kunzel, and has performed concertos with many other Boston-based orchestras. Her playing, described by Boston Globe critic Richard Dyer as “spellbinding” and “eloquent,” has been featured on several Evening at Popstelevision programs, as well as on national radio broadcasts, both on the NPR and the CBC networks.


A cum laude graduate of Harvard University, her cello teachers have included Lowell Creitz, Janos Starker, Leslie Parnas, Madeline Foley, Aldo Parisot, and George Neikrug. Winner of the Piatigorsky Prize while a student at the Tanglewood Music Center, she began her professional career as a cellist at the age of nineteen, when she became the youngest member of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.


Ms. Babcock is active as a chamber musician and recorded for the Nonesuch, CRI, and Northeastern Records labels.


8 Haiku for Solo flute


8 Haiku for Solo flute, written in 1996 are evocative miniatures based on haiku songs.




Doriot Anthony Dwyer


Doriot Anthony Dwyer, principal flute with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for nearly 40 years was born in Streator, Illinois, a descendant of the famed suffragist, Susan B. Anthony. A champion of new music, Ms. Dwyer has premiered works written for her by Ellen Zwilich, Walter Piston, John LaMontaine, and Ingolf Dahl, among others. She has received honorary doctorates from Harvard, Simmons College, and Regis College, a Samford Fellowship from Yale and the Hutchison Medal from the University of Rochester. A distinguished recitalist, a gifted teacher, and chamber musician, she has been hailed by the New York Times for “impeccable virtuosity and a beauty of tone.” Her recordings appear on the Koch and Deutsche Grammophon labels.


Variations for Solo Contrabass


Variations for Solo Contrabass written in 1998 for Edwin Barker utilizes the rich resources of the instrument; its extensive range, multi-tone chords, harmonics in a prologue, theme and five variations.




Edwin Barker


Double bassist Edwin Barker is recognized as one of the most gifted bassists on the American concert scene. Acknowledged as an accomplished solo and ensemble player, Mr. Barker has concertized in North America, Europe, and the Far East.


Mr. Barker graduated with Honors from the New England Conservatory in 1976 where he studied double bass with Henry Portnoi. That same year, while a member of the Chicago Symphony, he was appointed at age 22 to the position of principal bass of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Barker continues to tour and perform internationally with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Chamber Players. Mr. Barker's latest recording, Three Sonatas for Double Bass, has been released by Boston Records.


Simultaneous Contrasts: Suite for Solo French Horn


Simultaneous Contrasts: Suite for Solo French Horn written in 1987 as a horn and dance collaboration for Eric Ruske, horn and Kalya Yannatos, dancer-choreographer. Mr. Ruske and Ms. Yannatos wanted a work that would integrate music and the physical movements of both dancer and hornist in the choreography. The music was conceived as a suite of contrasting but related movements ending as it began, but in its retrograde form, completing a full circle.




Eric Ruske


Horn soloist Eric Ruske has established himself as an artist of international acclaim. Named Associate Principal Horn of the Cleveland Orchestra at the age of 20, his impressive solo career began when he won the 1986 Young Concert Artists International Auditions at age 22. In 1987, he won first prize in the American Horn Competition and in 1988, the highest prize in the Concours d'Interprétation Musicale in Reims, France.


A native of LaGrange, Illinois and a graduate of Northwestern University, Mr. Ruske has been the recipient of grants from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and the International Institute of Education. He has served on the faculties of the Cleveland Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music and is currently on the faculty of Boston University and heads the Horn Seminar at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.




Recording Engineers: Thomas Stephenson (8 Haiku for Solo Flute; Simultaneous Contrasts: Suite for Solo French Horn; Variations for Solo Contrabass) • Bruce Humphrey (Sonata for Solo Cello)


The support of the Phorzheimer Foundation is gratefully acknowledged.


Cover Design:Bates Miyamoto Design Service








James Yannatos


Sonata for Solo Cello


1 Cadenzi: Chants and Dances [6:34]


2 Recitivo and Arioso [2:39]


3 Serenade: Scherzo and Toccata [7:11]


Martha Babcock, cello


8 Haiku for Solo Flute


4 Poco adagio [1:18]


5 Allegro Agitato [1:05]


6 Andante [1:19]


7 Agitato [:38]


8 Scherzando [:59]


9 Andante [:38]


10 Grazioso [:39]


11 Andante [1:45]


Doriot Anthony Dwyer, flute


live performance


12 Variations for Solo Contrabass [14:43]


Prologue: Broad, Theme; piu moderato


Variation I: Comodo


Variation II: Piu mosso


Variation III: Easy


Variation IV: Adagio Cantabile


Variation V: Vivo


Edwin Barker, contrabass


live performance


Simultaneous Contrasts:


Suite for Solo French Horn


13 Prologue [3:20]


14 Rondo [4:21]


15 Scherzo [2:47]


16 Toccata [2:21]


17 Interlude [:48]


18 Aria [4:57]


19 Interlude da capo [:44]


20 Finale [3:42]


21 Epilogue [2:05]


Eric Ruske, French horn




Total Time = 64:43