Eric Ewazen: Orchestral Music & Concertos



Orchestral Music


& Concertos


by Eric Ewazen








Classical Concerto for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra


James Houlik • tenor saxophone


Ballade for Clarinet, Harp, and String Orchestra


Charles Neidich • clarinet


Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra


Marya Martin • flute


Chamber Symphony


Eric Ewazen • piano


Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra


Paul Polivnick • Conductor








Eric Ewazen was born in 1954 in Cleveland, Ohio. He received a B.M. at the Eastman School of Music and his M.M. and D.M.A. degrees from The Juilliard School. He has received a number of composition awards and prizes and his works have been commissioned and performed by many soloists, chamber ensembles and orchestras in the U.S. and overseas. His works are recorded on EMI Classics, Summit Records, d'Note Records, CRS Records, New World, Clique Track, Helicon, Hyperion, Cala, and Albany. Two of his solo CDs are available on Well-Tempered Productions.


During recent seasons, a number of Mr. Ewazen's orchestral and chamber works have been premiered around the world. The American Brass Quintet with the Orquesta Sinfonica Carlos Chavez performed Shadowcatcher, his brass quintet concerto for the first time in Mexico City. She-e Wu and the Orchestra Moments Musicales performed the Concerto for Marimba and String Orchestra in Taipei, Taiwan. The Tenerife Symphony premiered the Ballade for Bass Trombone, Harp and String Orchestra in the Canary Islands. Linda Strommen and the American Sinfonietta performed Ewazen's Oboe Concerto for the first time in Bellingham, Washington. Hornist Gail Williams and Larry Combs (principal clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony) were the first to perform The Art of the City along with the Chicago Chamber Musicians. The Charleston (South Carolina) Symphony premiered his Concerto for Tenor Trombone and Orchestra and the West Virginia Symphony gave the U.S. premiere of Shadowcatcher with the American Brass Quintet. Mr. Ewazen's recent and upcoming commissions include a Double Concerto for Trumpet, Trombone and Orchestra, written for the principal players of the Tucson Symphony, a Bassoon Concerto for Florida State University, The Palace of Nine Perfections for Oklahoma University, a Symphony for Strings for the International Sejong Soloists and a piano trio for the Ahn Trio. He has also received commissions to compose symphonic wind ensemble works for the Bi-Centennial of West Point and for the USAF Heritage of America Band at Langley AFB, VA.


Mr. Ewazen was a featured composer at the European Percussive Arts Society Convention in Paris, France where the Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine performed his Marimba Concerto under the direction of François Boulanger. Other notable performances have included Doug Yeo's presentation of his Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra with the New England Conservatory Honors Orchestra, and the Paris Conservatoire's performance of his Palace of Nine Perfections. In addition, concerts featuring all-Ewazen programs were given by Charles Vernon at DePaul University and at the Curtis Institute, Lawrence University, Kennesaw State University, the University of Arizona, Brevard College and Western Michigan. In May 1996 he was Composer-in-Residence at the International Trombone Association Convention and in June 2001 he was the Composer-in-Residence at the 33rd International Horn Society Convention. He was also a guest composer with Musiques en Eurorégion in Northern France in October 1999.


Eric Ewazen has been vice-president of the League-ISCM, Composer-in-Residence with the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, lecturer for the New York Philharmonic's Musical Encounters Series, and is currently a faculty member of The Juilliard School.


Classical Concerto for


Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra


In 1992, James Houlik came over to my Manhattan apartment to show me what he could do on the tenor saxophone. His spectacular playing caused unbelievable comment from my neighbors and I was hooked on his beautiful, intense tone. His abilities at playing the most exciting and virtuostic repertoire and his total command of all ranges and means of expression inspired me to write a work showcasing his amazing talents. The three movements follow the progression and structure of the concertos of Mozart's time—hence the title of the piece. The first movement is a Sonata Allegro, which dances with energy and playfulness, culminating in a huge cadenza for the soloist. The second movement opens and closes with a heartfelt chorale framing an uplifting, contrapuntal extended middle passage. The final movement is a rousing danse macabre leading to a second cadenza for the soloist. The coda brings the piece to a heroic conclusion.


Ballade for Clarinet, Harp and


String Orchestra


Composed in 1986 for my friend Jean Kopperud, who presented the piece in Merkin Hall in New York City, it was written while I was a guest composer at the Tidewater Music Festival in Southern Maryland. Outside of my guest cottage was the beautiful Chesapeake Bay. In the balmy summer weather, with the water gently lapping the shore, I wanted to describe this unbelievably pastorale scene with music… this was the birth of the Ballade. The clarinet sings, floats and soars above gently pulsating harp and string chords. At times the music becomes joyful and energetic, at times soft and prayerful. I am delighted to have Charles Neidich, with his beautifully expressive playing, interpret my music for this recording.


Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra


My Flute Concerto was written in 1988 for Julius Baker, the legendary flute player of the New York Philharmonic. He premiered the work in 1989 in Merkin Hall in New York City. The four movements of the concerto are colorful vignettes, each with a distinctive mood and set of themes and gestures. The first movement is dramatic and declamatory, with flute lines that are constantly rising upwards towards the heavens. The second movement is an exuberant scherzo, folk-like in character. The third movement is extremely moody and intense with blues-like melodies sounding in the extremes of the flute register, low and high. The final movement is filled with life and energy. I am so pleased to have my dear friend and colleague, Marya Martin record my concerto with her gorgeous sound, and her sparkling, colorful approach to my music.


Chamber Symphony


My Chamber Symphony was composed in 1985 for the Fairfield Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Thomas Crawford, who commissioned the work. The wonderful pianist, Margaret Mills, first played the prominent piano part. The piano takes the role of the harpsichord in Baroque orchestral music. It is omnipresent—a resonant support for the numerous solo lines in the orchestra singing out above. The first movement is bold and dynamic, with awesome chords and dramatic gestures. There is a feeling of grandeur in this movement. The second movement alternates powerful string and percussion chords with quiet, peaceful woodwind melodies. The final movement is a roaring rondo, spinning its way towards a return to the grand gestures and themes of the first movement, making the entire work a large arch form.


James Houlik, Tenor Saxophone


Acclaimed as a brilliant virtuoso and as an artist of remarkable musicianship, James Houlik has wrought a new place for the saxophone in concert music. He has appeared with leading orchestras and in recital halls around the world. His performances have taken him to over forty countries, performing with over 100 orchestras. He has also nearly single-handedly developed the 20th Century concerti repertoire for the tenor saxophone. Among the numerous composers commissioned by Mr. Houlik are Morton Gould, Robert Ward, David Ott and Russell Peck. He has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, London's Barbican Centre and the East Room of the White House. As a recording artist, he has recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra and the Winston-Salem Symphony. James Houlik is a highly regarded pedagogue having written books on topics ranging from vibrato for wind and brass players to hand/arm problems for musicians and their treatment. Currently Artist-in-Residence at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, he has previously served on the faculties of the North Carolina School of the Arts, Boston University and Duke University, in addition to giving master classes and clinics at major conservatories worldwide.


Marya Martin, Flute


New Zealand born flutist, Marya Martin, has performed on five continents to critical acclaim and audience delight. She came to the United States in 1976 and became a top prize winner in the Naumburg Competition, the Munich International Competition, the Jean Pierre Rampal International Competition, the Concert Artists Guild and the Young Concert Artists International Competition. She has appeared with major symphony orchestras around the world including the Seattle and St. Louis symphonies, the Brandenburg Ensemble, and the Mostly Mozart Orchestra. Marya Martin often tours New Zealand as a soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. She is an active chamber musician and is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, and a founding member of the wind group, Windscape. She has also appeared with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Music at the 92nd St. Y, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music at Angel Fire and the Vail Valley Music Festival. As a leader in contemporary music, she has commissioned over 15 works. Ms. Martin can be heard on record labels such as Arabesque, New World, Music Masters, Orion Master Recording, Well-Tempered Productions and Kiwi Pacific Records. She is on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and Boston University's School for the Arts.


Charles Neidich, Clarinet


In 1985, Charles Neidich won the first major clarinet contest in the United States, the Walter W. Naumburg Competition, which catapulted him to prominence as one of the most celebrated clarinetists of our time. As a soloist, he has collaborated with major orchestras and prominent ensembles around the world, including the St. Louis, Spokane, Syracuse, San Diego, and Knoxville Symphonies, Tafelmusik, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, the Halle Staatsorchester of Germany, the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, the Juilliard, Guarneri, American, Cavani and Mendelssohn String Quartets and the Peabody Trio. He is a long-time member of the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble and the New York Woodwind Quintet. Mr. Neidich commands a repertoire of over 200 solo works, including pieces commissioned or inspired by him as well as his own transcriptions of vocal and instrumental works. A noted exponent of 20th century music, he has premiered works by Milton Babbitt, Edison Denisov, William Schuman, Ralph Shapey, Joan Tower and other leading contemporary composers. A former faculty member of the Eastman School of Music and the Sibelius Academy of Finland, he is currently a member of the artist faculties of The Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.


Paul Polivnick, conductor


Renowned conductor Paul Polivnick has conducted and recorded with symphony orchestras around the world. In the United States he has appeared with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Utah, North Carolina and San Diego Symphonies. Internationally he has appeared with the Czechoslovakian State Orchestra of Gottwaldov, the Brno Philharmonic, the Korean Symphony Orchestra, Orkester des Osterreichischen Rundfunks, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Gulbenkian Orchestra. He has been Music Director/Conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Associate Principal Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Assistant Conductor of the Aspen Festival Orchestra. In 1997 he was appointed Music Director-Oberlin Orchestras, at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He is also Music Director of the New Hampshire Music Festival and Principal Conductor of the Harmonia Nova Orchestra of Vienna.


Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra


The famed Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1977 under the leadership of its Artistic Director Pavel Prantl and is comprised of principal and core members of the Czech Philharmonic and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra has toured throught Europe, Asia and North America. The orchestra has recorded for numerous record labels and has won a coveted Grand Prix du Disque.












Additional Credits:


Classical Concerto for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra, Ballade for Clarinet, Harp and String Orchestra, Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Symphony were recorded at Studio 1, Czech Radio, Prague, Czech Republic.


Produced and Edited by Milan Slavicky (Rhapsody)


Engineered by Jan Kotzmann


Mastered by Adam Abeshouse








Eric Ewazen


Orchestral Music and Concertos


Paul Polivnick, Conductor


Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra


Pavel Prantl, Artistic Director


Classical Concerto for Tenor Saxophone


and Orchestra


1 Allegro Energico [7:21]


2 Adagio [8:21]


3 Lento-Allegro Vivace [7:16]


James Houlik, Tenor Saxophone


4 Ballade for Clarinet, Harp


and String Orchestra [11:52]


Charles Neidich, Clarinet


Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra


5 Allegro ma non troppo [5:21]


6 Allegro Molto (Scherzo) [3:56]


7 Adagio [4:29]


8 Allegro Molto [3:53]


Marya Martin, Flute


Chamber Symphony


9 Allegro Maestoso [8:28]


10 Andante con moto [7:53]


11 Allegro Ritmico [6:15]


Eric Ewazen, Piano


Total Time = 75:29